1 June, 2015
When I was a kid, I wanted to try my hand at kite flying. Nobody bought one for me, so I made them from paper and Popsicle sticks. Too heavy to fly, the kite required a redesign. I used willow and tissue. Still, no flight resulted. Repurposing and engineering, then like hope, I set it free. It fell to earth with a quiet crush.
I determined my children would experience the thrill of kite flying. I bought a kit, and we put together the box kite. Once we attached the tail, the pirate skulls painted on the nylon grinned, ready to soar. On a windy day, we unfurled the string. The kids took turns setting it free. Winds lifted it high, a triumphant ascent toward the clouds. It tugged, wishing greater rein to aspire to greater heights. I feared, like Icarus, aspirations might outstrip wisdom. “Reel it in a bit,” I suggested. My eldest daughter laughed, filled with the youthful certainty of her own immortality. She laughed at me and rushed away, setting free more string.
Its flight lasted moments before it snagged in a maple tree. No amount of pulling dislodged it. The string broke, falling like fortune to rest on the ground before our feet. Stuck too high for a ladder in an unclimbable tree, I grieved for our kite. I mourned the realization of a childhood dream and sharing the coveted experience with my children. The image of it trapped out of reach brought tears to my sentimental eyes. “Alas, like a dream, captured on high, imprisoned, embroiled, unreachable.”
My husband threw an arm around my shoulder. “We’ll get another.”
I blinked back tears, assigning too much sentimentality to a thing of fleeting value. It reminded me of all I desired to accomplish but felt stymied in completing. The kite caught in the claws of happenstance, unable to fulfill its destiny.
“Yes, we’ll get another, and it will be just as nice,” I lied, staring at the grinning visage.
There’s always another dream, but letting go of an older one can detach a part of a sensitive heart. I take a moment to mourn.