Sunday 2 September 2012

Let The Magic Begin

I was thinking today about flying a kite. We picked one up when we were at Lee Valley Tools the other day and I forgot we had it until today. It is one of those new designs that have no sticks or plastic and rely on air to inflate it and then give it lift. I can hardly wait to try it. Maybe tomorrow.
Today when you want to fly a kite, you grab the kite, go and find a big empty field, wait for the wind to pick up and then watch the magic happen. It is truly magic. Somehow this piece of fabric or paper will catch the wind and soar up into the sky. I have heard that the ancient Chinese developed kites about three thousand years ago and used them measuring distance, testing the wind, lifting men, signalling for military operations and more than likely to have fun. Ben Franklin is famous for flying a kite during a storm to demonstrate that lightning was electricity. There are some that think he was actually trying to commit suicide. The Wright brothers used kites to research lift and drag which was instrumental in designing their airplane. People have air battles with kites, the strings coated with grit to cut the opponents string. I think you get to keep the conquered kite. People are weird.
I used to love flying kites when I was a kid. Actually, I should say that I used to love trying to fly kites when I was a kid. I don’t know if you could just go out and buy kites back then because dad was one of those men that like to make things and forced us to become those kinds of kids. I remember you would make a cross from a thin piece of wood, run string from tip to tip to tip to tip and then glue paper to the whole assembly. It was nearly impossible for a kid, but kind of fun too. Against all odds, I did manage to make more than a few kites and once we made a tail for the kite we would head out to a large empty field to fly it. The closest large empty field was the hydro right of way with the large towers bearing signs; BEWARE 100,000,000 VOLTS!!! We would run as fast as we could down the field letting a little more string out with every step and sometimes, just sometimes it would take to the air. What a great feeling! Even when it crashed in a heap on the ground seconds later, all of the work would have been worth it.

No problem, there was little to no chance the kite would fly and if it did then it wouldn’t fly as high as the power lines, and if it did manage to get that high, the flying pigs would keep it from hitting the power lines. Kite flying was always a springtime activity and for the life of me I can’t think why. Perhaps the idea of getting outside after spending a long winter inside made all things possible.
I got a really nice kite when the kids were babies and I would take it out and fly it when ever I had the chance. It would fly so high and pull so hard that I almost thought it would lift me off of the ground. I got it caught in some power lines once, but managed to get it free. When I told Louise she was really angry with me for being so stupid. We hadn’t been together long enough for her to realize that was my normal. I still have that kite in the garage, but I don’t think it will fly any more. It has a couple of tears where the supports poked through the fabric and the fix I did has left it unbalanced. Every now and then I take it out and look at it, remembering the fun times.
In Alberta most of the power lines are under ground, there are large fields attached to all of the school yards and the lack of wind is never a problem. Now, I have a new kite and I have grand kids to help me fly it. Let the magic begin…

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