Monday, October 17, 2005

Not Just a Lot of Hot Air

By Mitchell

For the last few weeks we've had this mystery blimp hovering over Minneapolis. Not just a balloon; we're talking about a blimp - you know, like the Goodyear one. There was no overt advertising on the blimp, just two messages: "Enough is enough!" on one side, and "Had it up to here?" on the other. It kept flying around, usually in some area that was seeing a good deal of traffic. We saw it several times ourselves. Everyone wondered who was behind it, but the identity of the mystery blimp remained just that: a mystery.

Turns out it was an advertisement for one of the local TV stations introducing a new 5 p.m. newscast. (Well, I never said this was the most exciting area; I guess we can get worked up over just about anything, including a newscast.) The newscast debuted today, so I figured the jig must be up.

Except, just now, while I was working on the Catholic Carnival entry for tomorrow, I looked out the patio window and there it was.

What a sight.

It was illuminated in a harsh white against the night sky, moving soundlessly over the twinkling lights of the skyline. A huge glowing white light just gliding slowly, soundlessly through the blackness.

There it is again - I just walked out on the balcony to take a look at it.

The mystery message is gone now, replaced by the ad for Channel 9. It's the most striking sight; I wish I had a camera to show you what it looks like. I've seen blimps at night on TV before, but usually the only illumination is provided by the blinking lights of the message board attached to the blimp. But not this: it's either shining from within or the blimp has lights on the outside that are turned back on the skin.

But what a sight. Out on the balcony I looked up into the night sky, at an angle where you couldn't see the lights from the buildings, and all you have is this moving light, passing through the blackness. I wonder if this is the kind of experience the wise men felt seeing the Star of Bethlehem moving ahead of them, leading them to the Christ Child.

I'ts just moved behind the IDS Building, tallest in Minneapolis. I keep moving from room to room, trying to see if it reappears. There it is again - it must be circling around our area.

You might think I'm just some Midwestern hick who's never seen a blimp before. Well, I have - I've even seen the Goodyear blimp with my own two eyes. That was just a factual, if fun, thing to see.

But this is, I don't know, I guess it's just a thing of beauty. If it didn't sound sappy, I"d say that it had the kind of luminessence that reminds you that there is a God after all.

What the heck - I said it anyway.

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