Sunday, October 18, 2009

$150 experiement and no regrets

When I saw him shopping for a pocket camera in the electronics department at StuffMart, our conversation from the day before came back to me.

He had walked excitedly in my office holding a hand crafted contraption made of styrofoam, duct tape and fish line. The likes of a five point harness - but for a camera. His girlfriend's camera.

"I'll buy her a new one if something happens to it." he said.

Trevor is a photographer by trade and endlessly creative. He and his friend Marky teamed up on this idea that would fly a camera through the sky via several helium balloons, while recording video. They would post on facebook a time for all who could gather on campus to look up at the camera upon take-off. It would be "sweet".

I am first a skeptic, but I really love a spirit of adventure, and quite honestly, I'm jealous that they have the time and energy to do this kind of stuff.

I was looking forward to the gathered video footage with great frames full of bright young faces looking to the sky. Their expressions would grow unrecognizable as each faded to a dot on the landscape. And then a jerky aerial view of Bowling Green as the flying contraption would bobble about the city taking it's challenges from the wind and impending rain. The journey would end victoriously with a few scratches and elevation drop balloon pops for good story fodder (which I would scoop up for the blog file if he'd let me).

As it turned out, the first flight went pretty much as planned, but the 30 balloons tethered by 10 pound fishing line went up about 100 yards. It really needed to be better, a higher, beefier flight. So, a second run was in order.

It got high alright. Real high, and this is about when the wind did the same. It went up about 300 yards. As they pulled it back in the wind pushed it down below 45 degrees. The colorful, now 40-balloon zepplin, was no longer flying free. Sitting atop a 60 foot tree in someone's backyard, it was entangled in high branches aloft rustling fall leaves. No one at the tree owner's home answered the door.

It rained all night.

They went back the next day. Still no one answering the door and the camera had apparently been taken away by balloons again flying free anyway.

This is where we end up at StuffMart, in the electronics department.

"Hundred fifty dollar experiment?" I said over his shoulder as he compared the available options.

"Yep." he said without a hint of regret in his voice.

One of his friends asked if he regreted trying this.

"I don't regret it at all." he said with a smile.

What the video actually looks like we may never know. What we do know is that taking risk is worth the trade-off of the regret of never having tried.

I want to make some spritual application here, but I believe it's already there.

I love learning from my kids.
Photo by Trevor Lee, also posted on:

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