Summer 1980

I awake to glistening sunlight hitting the windshield of my VW Rabbit, my body squished between the steering wheel and my only belongings packed floor-to-roof all around me. Having driven all day yesterday and half the night, exhaustion had stopped me; somewhere in Iowa. Sleepily I witness dark gray clouds enveloping the Rabbit, temporarily ending sun reflections and quickly moving on – in shadow’s wake I’m shocked to see hot air balloons filling the sky above, some very close to me; still rising. By no plan of my own, in darkness of night, I had created a Hot Air Balloon Festival – front row seat – on I-35 W (right in the middle of my journey from Athens, Ohio, to Reno, Nevada, and San Diego, California). 

Original Artwork by the author, Peggy Starr

The extravagant thought of ‘Freedom’ comes to mind as I open the driver’s door and step out into the sun’s warmth and an abundance of beauty slowly drifting by; above me…. Oh thank you, thank you, for this beautiful day, I wave to the people above, just as my body, my entire body, quivers and quakes. Shaking hard from toes to head I nearly fall… shaking shaking…  Lightening bolts of energy leap up my spine, out my arms, and my arms swoop up into the sky, hands shaking wildly. I try to bring my arms back down to my sides, but they are out of my control, swooping back up into air. I try again to bring them down, now, my feet are stomping the ground… I’m giggling. This is seriously funny. And not funny at all!

Bypassing fears of craziness – recalling an old friend who was institutionalized, given shock treatments, for similar body symptoms – I, ecstatically dance, twirl, and wave to the balloon people… I am awash with joy.

Intuition tells me, “Wheeeee a cleansing!” Yes, my heart, I know this is a cleansing. I made it through another divorce, though it cost me my entire family and half my sanity, I’m still alive. Another Lightning jolt zips throughout my body, “and THAT one is for my childhood-pain”, I cry out to the wind. Yes, I giggle and cry, I’m calling this one ‘my forty-fifth year deep cleanse’! Now, what comes next?


I became a wanderer for the next forty years, pursuing what some say, “Only God Knows What”. On the surface, I fervently sought peace. Beneath that I sought to understand. I opened myself to everything: training in massage, Tai Chi, Jin Shin Jyutsu…; Neurographica Art; psychology; on & on it went… I, though, steeped myself in ongoing energy bursts, while grieving losses, illness, and processing all I experienced as Spirit speaking to me, leading me somewhere, hopefully, to find understanding and peace.

But what came next after the balloon festival? A milestone catharsis and kidnapping, in San Diego, California. (My next story)

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