Today I learned how to ride the wind and feel the sky.  Today I learned how to fly a kite.  My interaction with the element air has mostly come with a dash of hesitation and a pinch of trepidation.  Roller coasters make me queasy, and most heights make me uneasy, but I love airplanes and live for wide open spaces.  My favourite part of any car trip is a hand out the window letting the rushing air play itself on my fingers like a piano concerto.  Today, though, i got higher and more delicate than ever before.  Today I learned to make small-scale change for a more dramatic motion.

When I say kite I don’t mean the diamond-shaped pieces of plastic with some popular 80’s cartoon printed on it pulled taut by a couple of chopsticks and flown on a long string on a spool that we used to get tangled in trees and telephone lines as kids.  I’m talking about a two-handled nylon parachute of tubes and gadgets designed for exhibition and stunt flying.  This thing was a kite

String on a spool is easy; balancing tension between two handles takes focus, but since I happen to have the word “focus” tattooed on my body I was not admitting defeat before I got the kite to stay in the sky.

Once I got the thing up the bigger challenge was making it go where I wanted it to go and not wherever the wind tried to blow it.  My first attempts looked more like driving a forklift than flying a kite, and while I fought valiantly to steer the kite it crashed to the ground every time. 

It wasn’t until I stopped and took a moment to close my eyes and feel the air flowing through and with the kite that I quit fighting and started flying.  There was no need to yank and wrestle the strings.  All I needed was to gently play the strings, like strumming a guitar, and the kite and I danced through the sunset.  Such a profound lesson from such a simple change, and I almost let myself get too frustrated by my failure to see it.

I think maybe it’s time to apply this perspective to more areas of my life.  I need to stop fighting things.  Instead I need to close my eyes and feel the flow of life, harmonizing with situations as they arise.  I know I won’t always fly in such beautiful skies, and things won’t always go where I want them to go, but if it’s one less fight with which I’ll have struggled in vain I’ll consider it an accomplishment.  I’ve flown in the sun once, so even if I crash I know at least I’ll land on a beautiful beach at sunset.

Go, now, and fly.