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?
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]