kites and shifted winds

Kite flying has memories attached of the field of freshly cut grass at the Bellingham marina with wind coming off the water to send our kites soaring. I remember the time we brought the paper kites my sister and I had painstakingly made at craft time at the library, and how excited we were that something we had crafted with our own hands could be flying so high above us. There was the time that my kite escaped and I went diving after it, catching the spindle in my hands at the last moment. Once we took our kites down to Canon Beach when we went camping on the Oregon coast with friends, and we ran along the wet sandy beach, trailing dots of color far above. Somehow, flying kites always meant going to the water, where the wind was salty when we tasted it and the waves crashed at our backs.

Now the sea is three hundred miles away, and the people here do not know what it means to take a trip the beach just to dip our toes in the water or jog down the pier or fly a kite. So now we sail our kites over seas of grass, and wade through fields that dip and swell as we chase after escaped lines. These days, kite flying often means a phone call and a car that pulls up in front of the house and all piling into it and racing down the road before the wind dies away. Salt is no longer woven into our kite tapestry, nor do waves thunder behind us; they have been replaced by tobacco and colza and the lowing of bison.

Kite flying has changed. It has moved along with us. But that's what's beautiful, that a thing can change and still be so fundamentally the same. It's like people, I suppose. We move, we change, we don't look the same as before, but underneath, we're the still the same person. We have just learned more--lived more. If we could smell people like we can smell the wind, we would know the things they have loved and the places they have been. We could better understand how they changed. They are still them, they remember everything from before, but their horizons are new and the wind at their backs has shifted.


  1. I love this. I love the parallels you draw and how when I look at the pictures, I can almost feel the wind tugging on the line & picture a kite swirling above before it dives magnificently. Kite flying s one of my favorite parts of spring and you sure make it look beautiful.


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