Kite flying is a simple pleasure

April 6, 2014

I saw them on the beach the other day. And it happens every spring when we get a break in the weather. Young children and parents take to the shore to fly colorful, imaginative kites. It’s the perfect setting. There is something magical about flying a kite on a windy day. Yes, it is free, adventuresome, imaginative and even silly.

The duo walked along near the water’s edge attempting to launch a kite. They would run over the packed sand, toting this colorful triangle, and then they would stop and watch the kite lift off and soar. The child would jump up and down, overwhelmed with the sight high above their heads. All I could see in the distance was his bright blue jacket and red hat encompassing this tiny body that never seemed to be still.

The simplicity of this event struck me, just a father and son out for the day flying a kite, yet it seemed to bring so much reward and joy to the two of them. It was a day made for enjoying what comes naturally here, the sun brilliant in its warm smile and allowing just enough wind to make it a kite-flying day.

Even the beach seemed tickled by the pastoral scene; there were no ringing cellphones, people made eye contact since no one was using an iPhone or iPad or anything else with the letter i in front of it, and there was a general air of inhaling the sea, the salt flavor and the freshness of life.

I never got the hang of flying a kite as a kid myself. Inevitably, the kite would take off for a while and then plunge dramatically down to earth. It would be over in a matter of minutes, stuck head-first into the ground. And yet, others just had to let go and the darn thing would take off. It would pitch and roll as if it had a mind of its own. And you didn’t have to have anything fancy or expensive to enjoy the experience; in fact, you could make one just as easily or buy it at the nearest five and dime.

My father would always start the kite off for me, and I would crane my head and neck, watching this beautiful spirit roam the air. As soon as he would hand it over to me, though, it was lights out. Most of my kites ended up in the trashcan, but that seemed to be all right with everyone because you tried. A simple lesson for a simpler time.

And I think that’s what we need today. A simpler lifestyle would seem to energize our being; a lifestyle where we try to accomplish things beyond our reach and still do the right thing.  We have a successful kite festival at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes every April. People turn out in droves, young, old, middle-aged and professionals. Yes, there are people who fly these kites as professionals.

But it was all about the fun. There was plenty of laughter and screams from the little kids who loved seeing the kites crash. Different colors and patterns were like a palette from Mother Nature.

It was refreshing to witness kids without some tiny cords plugged into their ears. It was comfortable watching adults bend down and help with string, wood and their best advice. It was rewarding to see kids out and about, running around emulating the soar of a kite.

Not to get preachy, but as our country looks for answers to the future road and path, we should reflect on the simplicity that will take us through most complicated problems. Yes, it may involve hard work, but that’s what we are all about.

We are fortunate to live in an area where Mother Nature provides such a welcoming backdrop. And I know I will still see a father and son walking the beach with their kite again. Besides that, it would be great to tell someone to “Go fly a kite.”

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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