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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Kites

I am back to try and participate in the weekly Slices.  I got sick at the end of March and couldn't keep up with the month-long challenge.  I miss the writing and the community.

The power lines ran North to South above the Western fence line of the hay field.  My parents found our kites in the pantry that acted as our "all around" storage location.  They fussed over the strings, tails and put back together our kites.  I felt a nervous excitement.  My father and perhaps my mother although that isn't clear in my mind, emphasized the importance of staying away from the power lines.  I was scared of the power of the kite, that something so beautiful and awe inspiring could kill me if it strayed too far to the West.  I guess this is true of many potentially deadly accidents.

It was spring, the wind was blowing and the tough stalks of alfalfa crunched under our feet and then popped back up scraping against our pants.  On wet years the ground would be soft under foot and in dry, compact and cement-like steeled against the dry winds.  We walked East away from the power lines until that magic spot where our parents were no longer afraid and could feel comfortable.  With eyes on the power lines and the help of mom and dad, the kites would soar up into the sky.  The wind pulling them Eastward.  My dad, as always was teaching.  "Let out some string but not too much."  "Quick, give it a tug."  We had his voice in our ears gently giving advice.  He wanted the experience as much as we did.  He yearned to see the joy in our eyes and want to cultivate that joy never happy with just the experience itself.



As with most memories, my own child triggered this one last weekend.  At school our science teacher flew kites with the students and I went outside with them to see the awe in their eyes and the pride that they were flying.  They might as well have been on the kite.  As the day progressed, sadness crept in.  My father's voice was there and I realized that I hadn't ever flown kites with my daughter.

"$1.05 at the Dollar Store by Gold's Gym," one of our students reported.  After school I was at the cash register buying kites including an extra just in case.  We went out to the soccer field the next day, not nearly the same as the hay field but it did just fine.  We put together the sticks so that Elsa and Anna, the pictures on the kite, could fly and with no effort up they went in the air.  My daughter was speechless, a feat not easily reached, and stared up at her kite.  Initially, she messed with it but by the end simply rested her whole body on the soft grass and watched.  Her eyes fixed on the majesty of flight.