Monday, February 18, 2013

Breezy Thoughts for a Windy Day

Thought for the day:  The optimist pleasantly ponders how high his kite will fly; the pessimist woefully wonders how soon his kite will fall.  [William Arthur Ward]

When's the last time you flew a kite?

I loved flying them when I was a kid... every step of it,  from putting one together, to making a ragtag tail for it, and then launching it into the sky.  I especially liked to get a kite up really high in the air, and then lie on my back and daydream, while watching it dance, and feeling it tug at the string in my hand.

Didja ever build your own box kite out of wood strips and newspaper? Not as fancy as the kites you can buy ready-made these days, (or back in THOSE days, for that matter) but we sure had fun with them.

I often sit and wish that I
Could be a kite up in the sky,
To ride upon the breeze, and go
Whichever way I chanced to blow.

Mind you, I'm not saying I was ever very good at flying a kite. Just enthusiastic.

Matter of fact, the last two times I flew a kite... some years ago when our kids were very young, and just last year with our grandchildren... this is where our kite ended up.


And yes, I said "our". My hubby was with me, so he should share the blame, dontcha think?




Have you read this book? Trust me, once you read it, you'll never ever think of kite-flying the same. In Afghanistan, where most of this story takes place, flying kites is a vicious competition. On a scale of one to ten, I'd rate this book an eleven. It provides a fascinating window into a culture completely alien to most of us.





Talk about something being alien to most of us, would you ever consider flying a kite in the middle of an electrical storm?

Yay, Ben!



Would you believe there's a museum in Washington state that's completely devoted to kites? This place has more than 1500 kites on display from 26 different countries, and provides info about kites used for entertainment, industry, and scientific experimentation. (Yay, Ben!)

What's more, this is also the location for the Washington State International Kite Festival. From what I can see, their competitions are nothing like the vicious string-cutting endeavors depicted in The Kite Runner, but they do showcase a side of kite-flying completely different from what I... and I suspect, you...  have ever experienced. (I sincerely doubt if any of these folks have ever landed a kite in a tree.)

In this video, you can watch one of the regular competitors in action. Ray Bethell is an 80-plus-year-old Canadian, and his skills flying three (count 'em... THREE!) kites at the same time are phenomenal. Watching the way he makes those kites dance is like watching a ballet. Amazing.  Don't believe me? Watch it for yourself:



                                                              Let's go fly a kite
                                                              Up to the highest height.
                                                              Let's go fly a kite,
                                                              And send it soaring
                                                              Up through the atmosphere,
                                                              Up where the air is clear.
                                                              Oh, let's go fly a kite,
                                                               Let's go fly a kite!
                                                              [from Mary Poppins]

Again, I ask you, when's the last time you flew a kite? (Or donated one to a tree?)

                             Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

You will find truth more quickly through delight than gravity. Let out a little more string on your kite.  [Alan Cohen]

True courage is like a kite; a contrary wind raises it.  [John Petit-Sem]

48 comments:

  1. I haven't read that book yet, but I have it on my kindle, so I'll get to it in time.
    I've never flown a kite, but I have stood for hours on Semaphore Beach watching the professional competitors practise their moves.
    The kites were amazing, so many sizes, shapes and colours.

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    1. After you read that book, let me know what you thought of it. I thought it was stunning.

      You're one up on me. I've flown a kite, (and I use that term loosely) but I've never watched the pros in person. That'd be fascinating.

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  2. Even though I'm a confirmed pessimist, my kites always fly very high here in Texas - land of eternal wind (and dust).

    Truthfully, I haven't flown a kite since I was about ten years old. That was about a dozen years ago. All right, all right - - - it was about 80 or 90 years ago.

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    1. From what you've written on your blog, you live in the perfect place for kite-flying. You just have to wear goggles to protect your eyes. And one of those head scarves like the Arabs wear during sandstorms. Oh yeah, and you'd better wear skivvies under your kilt, too. No sense taking any chances.

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  3. The last time I flew a kite? Hmmm...maybe six or seven years ago, at the beach. No trees and lots of wind. Not a bad day of kite-flying at all. :)

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    1. Oh, that would be a great place to fly a kite, but as many times as we've been to various beaches, I don't remember ever flying a kite at any of them. Something about the combination of sun, sand, and water turns me into a totally relaxed and lazy slug.

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  4. Susan you know what? As crazy as it sounds, I have never flown a kite! I have to add this to my bucket list.

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    1. No, not so crazy. Kite-flying wasn't as much of a "thing" when you were growing up. My kids didn't have much interest in kites, either. But when I was growing up, most of the kids in my neighborhood had some kind of kite, and there was a big field nearby for us to use them.

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  5. "Go fly a kite" (Mrs. Cranky)

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    1. Next time she says that, just say, "Thanks! I believe I will."

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    1. Yeah, he brings it up to an art form, doesn't he?

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  7. I never knew kite flying was all the rage
    I guess I need to get out of my cage
    Haven't flew one in prob 20 years or so
    Shame on me I know
    But I have told people to go fly a kite
    That has to count for something, right? haha

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    1. Nah, kites aren't exactly a rage,
      More the thing of a bygone age.
      But I think what was fun in '50
      Can still be doggone nifty.
      All ya gotta do is try.
      Go catch a breeze,
      And fly.

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  8. Susan,
    I remembered immediately that I had read "kite runner" and I really like it but at the time I was on an Afghanistan reading kick so I think I'm mixing some books together.
    I was never very good at flying a kite. Looks like some pretty neat kites you left up in the tree. Ha

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    1. Glad to hear you read "Kite Runner." It's probably the only book I've ever read that took place in Afghanistan, so it really stuck in my head.

      I hope you checked out that video. The fellow really has some "smooth moves." (Ah, but can he dance?)

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  9. I love kites but I haven’t flown one in years. I’ve probably only flown a kite four or five times (despite the fact that I’ve been told to go fly one on numerous occasions).

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    1. You haven't flown a kite in years? So whatcha waiting for??? Accept that challenge, and go fly a kite, man!

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  10. Thanks, Susan. You just gave me an activity I can do with my son "Ben" this spring. But I won't take him out in a thunderstorm. ;)

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  11. I have never flown a kite, and strangely, don't feel as if I'm missing out on something.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I don't suppose you can ever really "miss" something you've never done. (But it IS fun!)

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  12. I swear you could make paint drying thrilling. Although kite flying is a wee bit more exciting than paint drying, still I was riveted by this post. When does your book come out? I am in charge of the book signing tour part, mmmkay? I will be your tour manager as it were [and I get to drive. The Oscarz. See I have it ALL planned, just write the damn book. ::laughing::]

    Where was I? Oh - yes, this post. LOVE. Kites are so cool. And we have the perfect open field behind us to fly one. So I am going to take you up on it and after my appt. today we are going to fly a kite, 'cause the last time we donated one to a [power line] tree Wallene was 1 year old. That is entirely toooo long in the scheme of life and kite flying I must say. YAY. Kites. Cool.

    And that book? Stays on my bookshelf by my bed. Although intensely sad, it is a book that will touch you so deep that you can't put it down and you continue to pick it up long after the first time to read it again and again. My daughter gave it to me she was so moved by it.

    Okay, race you to the newspaper, sticks and twine my friend. Ready, set......HEY FLEET SWIDERSKI GET BACK HERE YOU CHEATER! ::giggling:: Enjoy your day, as I know only you can. Much love, Skippy

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    1. You sure know how to put a smile on my face. (Shhhh, my book should be published this year. Hopefully, in a few months. I'll letcha know when to get Oscar ready.)

      I love the thought of you flying a kite today. If it's real windy, you'd better let Pooldad help you hold onto that string. Wait, no... YOU hold the string, and HE can hold YOU. (That'd be oh-so much more pleasurable.)

      I'm glad "Kite Runner" touched you as much as it touched me. (But I'm not at all surprised.)

      You enjoy your day, too, kiddo. Hugs from yer udder mudder. 12:34

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  13. I suspect kites symbolize something in us, the brains of us, that lets the sky communicate through tugs on a thin line. I flew kites as a kid and as a kid again when I had kids. I have grandkids now and it's almost spring. Thanks, Susan, for reminding me to get a new kite.

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    1. My pleasure. I hope you have a great time flying that kite with the grandkids.

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  14. We were going to fly kites with our kids on Saturday but it was so cold enough that I didn't want to unwrap from my blanket.

    I have read The Kite Runner and mostly loved it. It was a window to a new culture and people and a new way of kite flying.

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    1. I'm thrilled to hear you were going to fly kites with your kids. There was plenty of wind around our way over the weekend, but it was a little nippy around the edges.

      I'm also glad to hear you read and enjoyed "The Kite Runner". An amazing book.

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  15. It's been decades since I flew a kite, but I LOVE the last quote in your post!

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    1. Maybe you can take your granddaughters when they get a little older.

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  16. Holy cow, it was so windy yesterday and I was standing outdoors in a line (well, sitting) and kept daydreaming off from the chatter to flying a kite in a field across the way from the restaurant. It was damn windy. It would've been way the hay up there. Did I say it was damn windy? It was damn windy. And that book's on the list.

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    1. We've had some pretty hefty winds here lately, too. Almost too windy to fly a kite. Especially for skinny people.

      Good! I think you'd LOVE that book.

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  17. I just love kites. They are beautiful, seemingly magic, simple, exquisite wonders. Yes, I made them when I was young, and like you, I had little luck in getting them to fly. Many kites are such works of art and the people who fly these kites, artists. I used to take my children to a local park on Saturdays where these kite engineers would put on a show. I could watch them for hours.

    I loved The Kite Runner. I agree, it is an 11.

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    1. I'm telling ya... we were separated at birth.

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  18. I too loved The Kite Runner. Such a heart-rending story. As to kites, I haven't flown one in years. Maybe I should do that again. Great post.

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    1. Glad to hear you loved that book, too. Some of my friends tried to read it, but never finished.

      Yes! Go fly a kite! (When it's a little warmer.)

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  19. I've used cheap kites on non-windy days, with little practice, so I haven't had any good kite flying experiences. I've always wanted to give it a real try, though.

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    1. Cheap kites aren't a problem, but it's just about impossible to fly a kite without some wind to help you get it up there. If it's something you want to do... next time the wind picks up, pick up a kite and give it a go.

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  20. Been very, very long time since I flew a kite. BTW, Kite Runner was also an excellent film.

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    1. As much as I enjoyed the book, I wonder how I'd feel about the movie. Screenwriter tend to make so darned many annoying changes. But I'll look into it. Thanks.

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  21. Oh Susan, I am SO glad I stopped by tonight! I LOVE kites, and even at MY age (I just turned....gulp....60!)I still fly them, and sometimes all by myself. I never made a box kite, but I would love to see them flying. When I was little, kites didn't already come with plastic "tails." We always tied torn up pieces of old cloth on for that. Thanks for the memories! Oh, one more thing, when an older friend of the family had a birthday a few years ago, I gave him a kite and wrote on his card: "Happy Birthday, Bill. Always remember you're never too old to fly a kite!" He really loved it!

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    1. Hi, Becky. I'm so glad to hear you enjoy kites, too, and if it makes you feel any better, I'm older than you are. (Never too old to have fun, right?)

      I love that you gave your friend a kite for his birthday. No wonder he loved it.

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    2. Thanks, Susan! And....WOW, you're older than ME? Sheeesh, I didn't think that was possible!! LOL

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  22. Wow! Absolutely hypnotizing! And the music - perfectly magnificent!

    Loved that :) Thanks!


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  23. The "hurted ass man" sign is a killer.

    www.GirlwithaNewLife2.com

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