Oh, go fly a kite!

Photo of a single kite flying.I love to fly kites. They trace the invisible wind, in technicolor. Watch them go all in a tizzy during a blustery wind. Even the gentlest breeze has sass. The wind becomes something you feel in your fingers, see with your eyes.

When Casey was 6 or 7, I took him out to fly his kite. It hopped into the air and immediately danced skyward. The sky drew it in one, long inhale. Mesmerized, I let the string run smoothly through my fingers. I was dimly aware of Casey tugging on me, shouting something.

I came to the end of the string, thankful that it was tied to the spool. And there we were, in balance: The kite anchored in the heavens and me on the ground.

And then Casey’s cries sunk in:

“DADDY STOP! Stop flying my kite to God and Jesus!” He never let me touch it again.

I once sailed a big nylon delta wing kite in a stiff wind on Imperial Beach, San Diego. Its sturdy string was at max most of the afternoon. Kai, 3 years old, occasionally took it for a walk. I stayed close, half worried the kite would take off with her.

The best times to fly are when the winds are neither calm nor rough. The best times swing playfully between the extremes. Surge-and-run one moment; free fall the next.

I like the counter currents that run through the experience. A brisk tug pops the kite straight up. There’s probably an elegant geometric equation to describe it. Rhythmic pulses in tension, timed with the gusts, settle the craft. When you want to climb, you let the tension build a bit, and when the time is right, release and let it soar.

It’s like dance. And life.

With tuppence for paper and strings
You can have your own set of wings
With your feet on the ground
You’re a bird in a flight
With your fist holding tight
To the string of your kite

From Mary Poppins

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