Have you ever wondered what keeps a hot air balloon flying? The same principle that keeps frozen food in the open chest freezers at the grocery store allows hot balloons to fly. It is a very basic principle: hot air rises and cold air sinks. So while the super-cooled air in your grocer’s freezers settles down around the food, the hot air in a hot air balloon pushes up, keeping the balloon floating.
There are three major components of a hot air balloon: the envelope, the burner, and the basket. The basket is where the passengers ride.
- The burner is positioned above the passenger’s heads and produces a huge flame to heat the air inside the envelope.
- The envelope is the colorful fabric bag that holds the hot air. When the air inside the envelope is heated the balloon rises.
- Now, what does this have in common with Freemasonry? Let us make some comparisons.
Like the envelope, Masonic information is stored in our memories, and when we need information on a certain subject, we “turn up the flame” and extract what we need.
In order to keep the balloon in the air, hot air is needed. It is the driving force.
In Masonry, strong leaders keep the Lodge operating, and are its driving force. As we need to rise to certain challenges, we need to increase the heat in our memories to make the right decision.
The basket in Freemasonry is the area where the officers await their turn to step up to the next position. It is an area where they can contemplate their plans and execute their designs.
To descend the balloon, the pilot allows the air to cool, and the balloon becomes heavier than the air. The pilot has complete control of the up and down movements by controlling the heat in the envelope. So is the case with the Master of a Lodge. He controls the up and down attitude of his Lodge.
Once airborne, balloons just float with the wind. It is true that the pilot does not know where the balloon will land ahead of time, but that does not mean he cannot control the landing.
In Freemasonry, the Master of a Lodge, in many cases, just let their Lodge “float with the wind.” The difference is, a Master CAN CONTROL THE DIRECTION OF HIS LODGE, thereby controlling where it will land.
Before the balloon is launched, the pilot knows which way the wind is blowing so he knows which way the balloon will go. The air is in layers, and the different layers may be moving in different directions. Although the pilot cannot steer the balloon, he can move up and down to find a layer that will allow the balloon to change direction.
In Freemasonry, a Master has the same options as the pilot of a balloon. If a situation arises and a solution is needed, the Master can find that “layer of air” which will allow him to change direction and find the solution.
Before the balloon takes off, many things have to be done. This takes a team of individuals working together for the same purpose. In Freemasonry, every task has to be done by teamwork, from the operation of the Lodge to maintaining the premises.
After the balloon lands, the crew packs the balloon back into the chase vehicle and everyone returns to the launch site.
Therefore, it is with Freemasonry. After the meeting is over, implements are stored away and we leave for our respective destinations. It is then we remember, that our balloon is our Lodge, and our memories of a great “hot air balloon” ride is the true desire to return repeatedly, to enjoy, for however a brief period, the camaraderie and Brotherly Love that also “floats” within our Grand Fraternity.
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
By: S.K Baril PM and Dan Keith PM