Fiesta is the harbinger of fall, of lanterns and pumpkins. It is a smooth transition into the season of the fallen. Usually.
This morning was cold. We launched around 7 am, and immediately drove south for the chase. Upon stopping at a traffic light a few miles from the launch site, I commented to Adam (the other crew on our balloon) that the balloon flying directly in front of us was too close to the power lines. Moments after I said that a line lodged into the side of the balloon's gondola.
For fifteen minutes I watched as the tragedy unfolded, powerless to help in the face of it all. The tension on the wire was so great that it was literally tearing away at the basket. The pilot tried to negotiate a drop line hitched to a truck to pull him out of it, but the line snapped and sent the balloon careening away from both the drop and power lines, dumping a passenger in the process. She died upon impact, from 60 feet up.
Powerlessness in the face of tragedy is at best humbling. Death came today, as it does, creeping in from the corners of our lives, the places we least often look. Death came today, and its questions remained unanswered.