Go Fly a Kite

When our son was a little boy we had a French military box kite. Huge, we’d take it to the shores of Lake Michigan where his little gloved hands would hold the cord spool and the airborne kite would lift him off the ground — him screaming with glee, “more, More, MORE!” — while Len and I held him securely, only letting him rise so far.

Now in the Pacific Northwest, we live within walking distance of Julia Davis Park in Boise, Idaho. One of its many beautiful offerings is the Bloch Cancer Survivor Plaza — a walking plaza created to give hope and courage to newly diagnosed patients, to inspire determination for those who are fighting the disease, and to reduce fear in those who’ve not had cancer. A portion of the plaza includes kite sculptures in perpetual flight.

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More than a calm draft or gentle breeze, the key ingredient to a successful kite flight is wind — strong, continuous, and sometimes fierce — to keep it aloft.

Have you encountered triumph through turbulence?

© Laurie Buchanan

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66 thoughts on “Go Fly a Kite

  1. I’ve experienced my fair share of triumph through turbulence, yes. Thank you, Laurie. This is a wonderful analogy and one I won’t soon forget!! 🙂

  2. The kite sculptures are beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like that.
    It made me think of “Kite and Bubble Day,” that our local elementary school has for the kindergarten class each year. (Well, I don’t actually know if they still do–it’s been a long time since my kids were in kindergarten.:)

    I’ve had turbulence and triumphs in my life, Laurie. I agree with Paula–great analogy.

  3. Oh yes, I’ve encountered triumph through turbulence many times, and often because of the presence of cancer in loved ones. Though we’ve lost many close relatives (parents, a sibling) to this dreaded disease, it has taught us to live fully in the flow of the present moment.

    • Barbara — You and me, both! Just this morning in response to this post my sister sent me this interesting information via email. You might find it interesting, too: “Hi Laurie, really enjoyed your post today! Don’t know if you’ve heard about this or not but on 60 minutes 2 weeks ago there was a segment about a cure for cancer. They may have found the cure for brain cancer including other cancers including breast cancer, I believe. To summarize (probably not perfectly accurately) they inject the polio virus Into the tumor. The bodies own immune system fights the polio AND destroys the cancer tumor it was injected into. People who were on their death beds have been totally cured. This may be the cure Laurie. And isn’t it ironic that Mom had polio and died of breast cancer … I wish they had a cure when she was still with us.”

      • Oh my stars, Laurie! I saw that segment on 60 Minutes and had the same reaction your sister did, except that my mother never had polio. I am forever finding myself amazed at what modern scientists discover and in the the most unlikely places.

        Before I sat down to check my email this afternoon I was stopped in my tracks when I noticed a mourning dove on my balcony staring through the sliding glass doors at me. Since my mother died of breast cancer almost 24 years ago I have noticed she often gets my attention or gives me a message by the appearance of a mourning dove. This one lifted up her wing on one side and showed me her breast and the underside of her wing, a gesture I’ve never seen before. She lingered for a bit and I wondered what it might mean. Then after she left I sat down and found what you wrote – so now I know what was on her mind. Thank you so much for sharing what your sister wrote!

      • Barbara — What you just shared gave me wonderful goosebumps. My mother gets my attention as a red cardinal. Seems like we’re cut from a similar bolt of cloth 🙂

  4. These fanciful kites are airborne, but your post immediately reminded me of the Irish blessing for forward motion in one’s life steering us through turbulence to triumph:
    May the road rise to meet you,
    May the wind be always at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your home,
    The rains fall soft upon your fields.
    And the light of friendship guide your paths together . . .

  5. Beautiful! As a writing instructor, it’s a great metaphor for writers. Manuscripts take a lot of hard work, and the timing and the “winds” have to be just right, and a manuscript can take a little help before it rises… And in the end, you create a beautiful piece of writing that soars. Thanks, Laurie.

  6. Yes indeed as you know all too well! I am grateful and happy to be on the other side of that turbulence !
    There was just a young mother and her daughter in the field flying a kite this weekend! Beautiful sight!

  7. How beautiful! The kites are permanently soaring high above it all.
    There’s been triumphs with and without turbulence and there’s much more gratitude after the turbulence. I’m appreciative of it all, but surviving the bumps gives us our stories.

  8. Our family is in the midst of a set of current challenges with cancer. Leading up to this multi-wave of turbulence we have lost so many loved ones including our dad to cancers of various types. As I’ve written before my 8 year old niece is in middle of battling Acute Lymblastic Leukemia cancer with so much courage; we lost mom in January to cancer, and very recently another dear immediate family member has just started another serious cancer battle.
    The multiple kites art display beautifully honors all of them.
    The other truth in it is that turbulence comes so frequently in multiples. In addition to all these cancer battles my prayer altar is full of other major and medium size waves of diverse types of challenges many other family members and friends including myself are facing. Sometimes we are blown down and under by the intensity. Other times we experience moments of lift and gratitude.
    We learn to ride the waves.

    • Audrey — I’m sorry to learn of the wide toll that cancer is taking on your family. I don’t know if you read it in a previous response to another writer, but here’s an email I received from my sister this morning in response to today’s post. Perhaps you could pass it along to your family members and their physicians: “Don’t know if you’ve heard about this or not but on 60 minutes 2 weeks ago there was a segment about a cure for cancer. They may have found the cure for brain cancer including other cancers including breast cancer, I believe. To summarize (probably not perfectly accurately) they inject the polio virus Into the tumor. The bodies own immune system fights the polio AND destroys the cancer tumor it was injected into. People who were on their death beds have been totally cured. This may be the cure Laurie. And isn’t it ironic that Mom had polio and died of breast cancer … I wish they had a cure when she was still with us.”

      • I rejoice on the cure for brain cancer. Thank God.
        I watched a more sobering 3 segment program on PBS “Cancer The Emperor of All Maladies”; Ken Burns producer. It was very informative. One theme was the uniqueness of each cancer and related curative path. Another was the history of progress followed by dead ends. One finding is that cancer cells are related to our genes. I recommend checking it out I cannot do justice to it. The story on breast cancer was very tough to watch … even though we have not faced that one in our family. I have a horrible childhood memory of a neighbor who hung herself after going through a mastectomy of one breast only to learn cancer was in her second one. A younger sister found her in the woman’s garage Sorry to go there.
        Thank you too for your kind words. I do hope fast progress continues for all cancers.

      • Audrey — I’ll see if I can find the PBS program on line (we haven’t owned a television for over 35 years). Thank you for making me aware of it.

  9. Wow, I love this. My family flew kites on Easter Sunday. As we were doing it I thought, wow, we’re making a memory right now. It was my Dad, my brother, his g/f, my nephew, my cousin, my aunt, my daughter and myself — in heels. What a memory.

  10. Thanks Laurie. The idea of the park is wonderful. Thanks for bringing it to us. Getting through to the other side of the turbulence in one piece it’s a triumph in its own right. Thanks for the reflection.

  11. Many times – but you already know of some of them. I love the analogy, as has been said here several times, and the kite sculpture. You make these connections between the ordinary things and the reality of life – I’m in awe.

  12. You’re post brought back pleasant memories of flying kites with my dad. He spoke of wind speed and air currents. But to me watching our kite sail into the blue sky was pure magic. Some days angry blasts of wind tore at our kite. On those days, Dad would say, “We’ll try again tomorrow.” And we did.
    Sometimes life’s turbulence has overwhelmed me and I’ve been forced to retreat. But, thankfully, I’ve always been able to find gentler winds to sustain me.

  13. I don’t think you can experience triumph without turbulence…it’s a bit like yin and yang . Unfortunately it’s when there isn’t a balance and turbulence comes from all angles without any breathing space .
    Those kites are amazing Laurie . When I was a child on holiday with parents my Dad would always get our kite out as soon as we arrived. I knew it wasn’t really my kite it was was my Dads but you have to humour them don’t you .😉

  14. In the middle of turbulence right now – The great falling apart and the great opportunity seem to come hand and hand with the winds of change

  15. All the time. Most of my life is turbulence. And despite my somewhat grumpy attitude, I do feel good when I can overcome the turbulence, come through it all and out the tunnel. And that theme is one of my favorite story ideas – to read and write about – even in my favorite gender – mystery.

  16. Hi Laurie

    As you know, had more than a little turbulence in my life, cancer and wind and many other forms.

    It’s just over 4 years since my last tumour, and 5 weeks away from the 5th anniversary of being told my cancer was terminal and I could be dead in 6 weeks. And yes – a very turbulent experience, facing death, accepting death, then surviving.

    For twenty years I was a keen pilot, gliders, fixed wing, and helicopters – many a tale in that of the power of wind and turbulence. Gliding in wave cloud at 20,000 ft at 120 knots is one of the smoothest flying experiences of my life. Getting down out if the wave was quite a bumpy ride.

    In my younger days I sailed all sorts of things, including a 34ft vessel on the leading edge of a cyclone.
    I’ve been at sea in excess of 80 knots of wind 3 times – in some truly mountainous seas.

    I live in a place where the wind blows over 70 knots several times most years, and over 100 knots most decades. So even at home we have many “turbulent” experiences.
    Those experiences certainly do go a long way towards shaping who we become. I have certainly learned a lot about what I am capable of through them.

    The fact that I am here, writing this, is probably my greatest triumph.
    Thank you for your assistance in that – a certain rock is in my left trouser pocket as I write, even though I’m in a corporate office 300 miles from home – awaiting the start of the working day.

    • Ted — Your excellent vivid descriptions of wind turbulence made me sea sick and air sick all at once! 🙂 You can’t begin to know how happy I am that you’re still breathing and enjoying life waaaaaaaaaaaay over yonder on the other side of the globe. Your comment about the rock made me smile 🙂

  17. What a wonderful image kites make for those who have been touched by cancer! I am reminded of a book I read last year, “The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini, though it has nothing to do with cancer. Yes, I have overcome turbulence my my life and know I will have more rough winds to face. It is wonderful to see children running in the wind with faces full of joy. Good post!

    • The Coastal Crone — It is, indeed, wonderful to see children with face-splitting grins as they fly their kites. Like you, I read “The Kite Runner” and enjoyed it very much 🙂

  18. Laurie, as someone else mentioned, this is a fabulous analogy, one I had never considered! I have experienced triumph through turbulence before, I imagine we all have. I just tend to call it ” What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” And the Good Lord knows I ought to be able to jerk a good-sized tree out of the ground with my bare hands by now. Yet, giving it more thought, I am simply glad it’s always been something I could handle, on my own or calling on Angels, friends, family, what ever God provides. Such an exhilarating sight, all those every-flying kites! Thank you!

    • Sandi — I know full well you could pull a giant redwood out of the ground bare-handed by now. I, too, am glad it’s always been something I’ve lived to tell about. Like you said, not of our own doing, but “onacounta” angels, friends, and/or family 🙂

  19. Laurie, I simply can’t resist:

    In any case, despite some serious and frightening turbulence on our trip to the UK two summers ago, we triumphed in the end. But for those who are new to taking flight its not without its harrowing moments.

  20. What a lovely idea that plaza is. The kite sculptures are beautiful. Along the shore here we have a large green where people fly kites. The in thing is kite skateboarding. Those lads lift so high off the ground it seems as if they’re flying too.

    • Marie — Oh my gosh, I’ve never heard of kite skateboarding. I’m going to have to look it up on the internet and see if I can find a video clip. Thank you for telling me about it! 🙂

  21. Thank you so much for that encouraging story of the kite sculptures and I wish I could find a kite big enough to take me off the ground. While doing the A-Z Challenge, I strangly considered doing F for Flight. I would love to fly and a few years back we saw a touring exhibition where they’d built working models of Leonardo Da Vinci’s flying machines. If only!!
    At Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney where I see all my doctors, they have made 1000 origami paper cranes, which they have put in a display case. Reminds me of your kites.

  22. Dear Laurie, what an apt metaphor for triumphing over turbulence. We ourselves have limited control over getting that kite to fly but we have to get it started then be open to letting it go to allow other forces to take over and keep it aloft. As in life, we need the turbulence of those strong winds of challenge and change to become strong and gain control. Love the photo and the visual image of hope for cancer patients. Thank you for sharing!

  23. I was in my 30’s before I realized that you don’t have to run with a kite. There isn’t a lot of wind here, so it took a vacation to the Oregon Coast for me to have that revelation. It was fun watching it go up and up on it’s own. But I have to admit, it wasn’t nearly as fun. But alas, I have passed the 50-year-old mark, and I surely appreciate that breeze now!

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