Because I live in flat, balloon-friendly country, I see a hot air balloon frequently as I commute to or from work. They rise in the morning or the evening, just as I am going to or coming from something arduous. They look like the more livable alternative to the sometimes stressful life I lead. Their image for me is always ease, and fun, and want of care. I went to a balloon festival once here. They have balloon festivals each year, weather permitting. Once I got up close to the balloons, I realized that they involve a lot of work, a lot of noise, and a modest amount of risk. It's so easy to just see the balloons hovering--it's even easier to forget how much work it can take to keep them aloft.