God’s-Eye View
by Carol Bliss

4:45 in the morning. The tent was dark.
I stumbled, putting my boots on, bumping my head on soft canvas.
The Tanzanian air smelled like rich, red earth.
Bending my head, I walked outside.
A jeep was waiting, its motor the only sound.
An African stepped out. I saw his watch shine in the darkness.
He called to me in a British accent. A slow rolling of the R’s
Carol, please get in.

Light beams in the darkness. We met, a gathering of eight.
Peaberry, arabica coffee was passed around, in an easy camaraderie, waiting
For the sound, like a shotgun blast
Then a whoosh of fire and gasoline, the burner, 200 degrees filling the hot air balloon
Green and gold, it started to rise, a sleeping Gulliver stretching muscles

Looking like an orb, a giant pear planted in a wicker basket, we were
Gliding like silk over the river, alive with hippos floating downstream, giraffes loping through grasslands
jackals running, strange birds, goshawks sitting on top of flat, black acacia trees
We, in the balloon, eyes wide, drawing in breath, the sound of clicking shutters attempting to capture the wonder of the kingdom below, animals simply moving,
Going about their natural morning, running, floating, swimming, feeding, in a glorious ritual

The pilot let out air, the balloon descended
We stepped out as different people
Who had seen something holy.
Days of awe.
From a God’s eye view.

PHOTO: Cheetah and hot air balloon (Serengeti, Tanzania, January 2018) by Hu Chen.

Carol Bliss Serengeti 2011

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I am in a writer’s group that meets every Tuesday and Thursday. We were given the prompt “One Good Memory.” My mind rewound to the most exhilarating day of my life, my 60th birthday. I flew in a hot air balloon over the Serengeti in Tanzania. I felt the dark, the excitement, the loping animals, and the poem just came.

PHOTO: Carol Bliss, Serengeti, Tanzania (September 2011).

carol bliss 2 copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carol Bliss is an artist, author, inspirational speaker, and Emeritus professor of communication at Cal Poly University. She has taught communication at Claremont Graduate University, Chino Men’s Prison, and at Universities in Thailand and China. She teaches and leads workshops in spirituality, creativity, communication, and ancient wisdom traditions. The author of six published books, she lives in Naples, California. Her books include Love Heals (co-written with Martha Bass), Spiritual Life Lines; Naturally Fit; The Irresistible Allure of Juicy Red Apples (a new perspective on Adam and Eve); and If I Had My Life…The Prison Papers: Insights from Inmates.