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 Created with by L. Barbosa 2014

Go Fly A Kite!

That’s what my husband, Joe, said to me recently. Okay, I’ll be honest. He added the word “Let’s" at the beginning.

We were staying overnight at a beachfront hotel in Jacksonville. In a couple of hours we’d head down to the dunes for my cousin Mack’s wedding. From our balcony, we could see the wedding planner directing the placement of the white folding chairs in the sand. Mack and Chrissy had chosen a beautiful spot for their ceremony.

From five stories up, Joe and I stole a few moments to enjoy the brisk, cool wind and the pounding surf. The beach wasn’t crowded, but a few people walked their dogs or jogged along the shoreline. Two brave souls in wetsuits paddle-surfed, while a couple on a beach blanket huddled together against the cold. Directly below us, a young man struggled to control his wing-style kite in the gusting wind. Joe and I exchanged a smile; that sure looked like fun.

“I think it’s still in the trunk,” I suggested.

His face brightened at the prospect.

“I think you’re right!” he remembered. “Let’s do it!”

We made plans to get up early the next morning to fly the kite on the beach before breakfast, and fell asleep smiling like children waiting for Santa.

It’s an understatement to say that I’m not a morning person. Since retiring, I’m seldom vertical before 10:00 AM. But on kite-flying day, my inner child woke me with the whisper of fun in the air. At 7:30, instead of complaining, I got my achy bones out of bed.

“Whose idea was it to do all that carrying-on at the reception?” I asked Joe.

“Yours,” he chuckled. “I had a feeling you’d regret the line dancing.”

We dressed warmly to brave the cold, overcast morning, grabbed a quick bite downstairs, and slipped out the back door to the beach.

A wing-style kite is fairly easy to fly. There’s no running down the beach to get it into the air, as you might do with a rectangular kite. In a split-second, the channels fill with air and it’s up. But on this particular morning, we were only mildly successful at keeping it airborne. Despite the strong gusts of wind there were large spots of dead air. The poor thing simply collapsed upon itself and fell to the ground in a crumpled, sandy mess. We didn’t have the good, steady breeze we needed, and truth be told, we were probably a bit out of practice.

What did work, however, was the joy of simply having fun together. And it reminded me of something very important. We should always keep our toys handy and be ready to use them.

Sometimes, especially with the holidays approaching, we get caught up in all the things we think we should get done and we forget to play. Sometimes even the things we love doing, like writing, become work assignments with deadlines, critiques, and meetings to discuss technique and marketing strategies. If we’re not careful, we can turn our lives into one long to-do list rather than a series of moments to be savored and enjoyed.

We cleaned up the kite and put it back in the trunk, but we’re already talking about when and where we’ll fly it again. Any day now, I’m going to tell my husband to go fly a kite -- provided he takes me along, of course!

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