Underfoot, the lawn was a white carpet of spring beauties. Overhead, brightly colored kites danced to the silent rhythm of the wind. It was a gusty, blustery wind that whistled through the trees. Children’s laughter rose above the birdsongs. Four-year-old Caroline grinned and shrieked with joy as she flew her first kite. At six, brother Dane was an old hand; he flew his kite higher.
“Watch the trees!” I yelled, remembering Dane’s first outing. His ‘favorite’ kite, decorated with a bright yellow duck, had suddenly lodged itself in a tree. His four-year-old heart was broken. “No, I can’t get it out, it’s too high,” I had explained, knowing well that the duck would hang in that tree for a long time. And it did, a constant reminder of our misadventure. Luckily, that day I had a panda kite in the garage, and we flew on.
Yesterday, Dane heeded my warning and moved away from the tree; right into the path of Caroline’s kite. “Look out for Caroline’s kite!” I yelled, too late. In a flash, the kites began to spiral, pinwheeling around each other. Caroline dropped her line, and the kites crashed to the ground.
“Wow,” was all I could say, holding the tangle of kite strings and kite tails. A rat’s nest made worse when the two kids tugged at their kites before I got there. “This will take a while to untangle,” I proclaimed. Eventually, I worked it out, and we were again flying. Well okay, I cheated and cut one of the lines – that tug of war was impossible to unravel.
Ah, to fly a kite – a long time ago I was an expert. I had spent hours of my youth flying kites. Once, I had a kite so high that I could barely see it. I had tied three spools together, all the line I had. I don’t know how high it was, nor how long the string was, but I do remember that it took forever to bring back down. Yes, once I was an expert, but that was a long time ago.
Yesterday, the sky was beautiful, the weather perfect, and soon we again had two kites in the air. As the youngsters flew, I provided my sage advice. I least it seemed sage to me.
“Run into the wind.”
“Watch the trees.”
“Don’t let go of the line.”
“Watch out for Dane’s kite.”
“Don’t pull on a tangle.”
It was fun; well at least I had fun. I believe that Caroline had fun, and I know Dane had fun, especially when he decided to do it his way – towing the kite behind his electric motorcycle.
In the process I remembered that even the simple act of flying a kite, can offer key life lessons:
This last is my favorite bit of wisdom. A kite can soar to great heights, brightly colored bits of nylon or paper bouncing across the sky. While we marvel at the magnificent sight, it is easy to forget the string. That small nylon or silk thread is all that holds the kite to the earth; cut it, and like yesterday’s newspaper, the kite tumbles, tossed helter-skelter until it falls to earth.
Life is like that. To achieve greatness, we must be anchored, be it family, religion, or tradition. Without that tie, we are lost, tossed adrift on the winds of fortune and chance.
So anyway, yesterday four-year-old Caroline flew a kite for the first time, hair blowing in the wind, ear-to-ear grin on her face “holding tight to the string of her kite.”
David L Dahl
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