"" Writer's Wanderings: Macy's Parade Balloons

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Macy's Parade Balloons

Scarf drawn around my head and neck, clutching my coat closed, I shuffled through the crowd of people heading for 81st street. It was a windy cold Wednesday night before the Macy's Parade. As Bob and I rounded the corner, we were greeted by the 10 foot wide smile of a big brown dog hoovering just slightly off the pavement. Scooby Doo looked plump with helium and ready to bound down Broadway in the morning. With the predicted winds, he would be a tough character to hang on to.

Other balloons in the parade were at various stages of inflation. Some were just being unrolled from bags that looked no bigger than those which would contain a good sized tent for camping. They lay pancake flat on the street until all the guide lines and appendages were unfurled and the hose from the industrial sized tank of helium on a truck nearby was attached. With a hiss, the flat fabric begins to take shape. Arms, legs, ears, lips, all fill with the lighter than air gas and it begins to float hampered only by the netting thrown across it to secure it for the night.

The next day we were awed as the balloons paraded by us tethered by two jeeps and 25-40 people who held guide lines to move the characters down the street. It was windy. They struggled at intersections where open spaces created cross winds. But, except for one mishap, they all made it safely to the Macy's department store on 34th Street--a miracle indeed.

Often, as the balloons passed by or stopped for a short time in front of us, the wind would cause the huge characters to sway--sometimes right over the top of our heads. Their size was overwhelming and the danger they presented should they get out of control was always a consideration.

I thought about how we inflate our worries so often like those big balloons. They become overwhelming and dangerous if we let them. They loom over us, darkening our world. Macy's used to release the balloons when the parade was over (they were smaller then) and let them float away to be taken care of by wind and air pressure that would eventually explode the inner cavities. It is a good analogy--let go of those inflated worries and let God take care of them.

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