Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Running Of The Balls

Saturday night my husband and I sat out on the balcony of our Calgary condo, waiting to watch white balls wend their way woozily by on the water. Weally!

A couple of weeks ago, we were riding our bikes through Prince's Island Park when we passed a bunch of people blowing up these big white balls. Once they were inflated, they were tossed into the river. Didn't think much about it.

But walking home from dinner this weekend, we passed a lot of people standing by the water with cameras. My husband asked what was going on. A woman told us five hundred of those white balls were about to be released into the river. Two balls were out in front of us, hung up on some rocks. But looking up river, we saw nothing. We decided to go home, pour some wine and watch from the balcony.

More people gathered below by the water's edge. We drank our wine as daylight slowly faded. "Those balls are blinking," my husband said. I looked and dog-gone it if he wasn't right. The two balls hung up on the rocks were blinking. It was kind of creepy if you want to know the truth. Being a NYer, of course I assumed it was somehow connected to Al-Qaeda. But they just continued innocently blinking down there in the dark water.

 About an hour later, The Running of the Balls began! Glowing orbs of different colors drifted by. I can't say that it was a spectacular sight from our elevated perch, but it was interesting. When the last ball floated by, onlookers followed along the bank. Occasionally we'd see a person walking along carrying one of them. Next day I did a google search and found some stunning pictures:

Photograph by: Ted Rhodes, Calgary Herald

Photograph by: Ted Rhodes, Calgary Herald

I also read that the event was given a far more poetic name than my "The Running of the Balls":



This Saturday night at 9:30 p.m., 500 illuminated spheres will be launched by local volunteers along the Bow River... create a large-scale dynamic lighting installation. The artist of this installation is U.K-based Creatmosphere, founded by artist Laurent Louder. They are using geographic, geological and environmental observation, public participation and technology to achieve a spectacular and memorable experience on the Bow River.

Photograph by: Ted Rhodes, Calgary Herald

I took a stroll Sunday afternoon down to the river to see if perhaps all the balls were corralled somewhere for one last look. But all I found was one lonely ball still hung up on the rocks:

Photo by Caryl Zimmerman

Our apartment building is in the back there, looking down on this poor pathetic, malfunctioning ball (It blinked, remember? Wasn't supposed to). Perhaps with a bit of persuasion (and a lot more wine) I can convince my husband to swim out and get it for me. I mean, if it doesn't explode first.

More gorgeous photos here.


Linda said...

Thanks for the smile (again). I love the concept and it must be quite beautiful.

I'm intrigued .. a river runs through our downtown with a municipal park on one bank - maybe something similar could be added to our hot air balloon festival next year. From an environmental clean up aspect they look a Lot easier to corral than the rubber duckies that were done several years ago - yikes. Happy to say I was not involved in that one ! :)

Margaret said...

I think this is totally cool! I found a beautiful picture of the balls too after you tweeted about it.

Would love to see it in person. Love your reports - love your writing! Thanks Caryl.

Anonymous said...

Caryl, What a beautiful sight that must be to see. Thanks for sharing your "Canadian" experiences with us.