It was early on the morning of our 34th wedding anniversary. It was also my son’s 32nd birthday. My wife Debi and I, and my son Aaron and his wife Shelby, took an early 30 minute drive to a winery in Temecula for a hot air balloon adventure.
Once we got there, we were treated to pastries, fruit, coffee and mimosas while we signed the necessary paperwork and waited for the crews to set up the balloons.
We then took a short walk through the vineyards to an open field where they were setting up three balloons. Numerous pictures were taken as the balloons were inflated.
When the balloon was ready, we all climbed into our assigned places in the basket. The balloon was huge. There were 11 of us in the basket, including the pilot.
As the balloon slowly and gently started to lift off, I wondered how I would handle my fear of heights. Because we were stable and I felt no danger of falling, my fears never materialized. In fact, there was a tremendous amount of peace, relaxation and joy as we slowly ascended above the ground.
The weather was beautiful! A warm clear early Sunday morning that was perfect for the adventure.
As the ascent began, our balloon gently kissed another balloon that was also just getting off the ground. It was an awesome sight as we slowly rose above the ground and above the other two balloons.
Phil the pilot, worked the burners and the chords to control the ascent and descent of the balloon. He announced our altitude at one point as 5,310 feet above the ground (over a mile) and stopped the burn for a short time. It was so serene!
Focusing on the serenity of the moment, I noticed something amazing. My tinnitus was completely quiet! What an awesome experience! I turned to my wife and said “Honey, my tinnitus is gone.” My wife’s response was shocking! You see, my wife also suffers from tinnitus and her response was “Mine too.”
We both knew it was only temporary, and it was. However, our tinnitus was silenced for the rest of the ride and we did not notice it again until later that morning, well after we had landed.
Was it a coincidence? Did the altitude have something to do with quieting our tinnitus? Was it the constant on off noise of the burn that was only a few feet from our heads? Who knows? Maybe you, or someone else reading this post could shed some light. However, the absence of my tinnitus, the adventure of the balloon ride we shared with our family, and the serenity that we experienced will go down as one of the absolute highlights of my life!