Blog 1269 – 03.01.2019
When I was a boy March was kite flying month with March winds supposedly being some of the strongest and best to take a kite aloft. I have since my very first kite loved to fly them. My dad bought me my first kite, put it together for me, and taught me how to fly it, and then when I crashed it took newspaper and flour and water and patched that first paper kite for me and it flew again.
You can no longer get a kite for a dime nor a ball of string for a dime and I don’t think they make paper kites much, if at all, anymore. But, the plastic ones are still relatively cheap and fly even better than the old ones did and come not needing a tail or with a plastic strip tail or tails included. So there is no longer any need for mom to rip up an old sheet and make a tail for your kite.
The thrill of kite flying to me is to take it all the way up to the end of the string and feel it tugging like it wants you to set it free or as if God were reminding you that He/She is up there ready to pull you up anytime you are ready. And then to safely wind it back down, undamaged to fly again – that is always my goal when I send a kite up into the burning blue.
We have had some pretty strong winds in Southeastern Wyoming and Northeastern Colorado where I am living and working, with often sustained winds in the 40 MPH range and gusts sometimes over 50 MPH. I have remarked more than once how I would love to take a kite up in that. I even bought a 225 foot roll of strong pink string to do just that with a nylon fabric kite that I have sent aloft several times already in other places.
Before March is done I hope to send it up again and to once more feel that come hither tug on the end of the string. For those of you who do not believe in a higher power, that’s okay, He/She believes in you. And has plans to take each of us, I think, to a higher plane when this adventure is over. Will I get to fly kites in the next life? I certainly hope so. It has been one of the most heavenly experiences that I have had here and I hope to perfect my kite flying skills in a life or lives to come. I always look forward to March and making that kite string sing and my kite dance the skies on laughter silver wings, oh that is another poem about flying called High Flight. Here it is, a long time favorite of mine.
By John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
(A sonnet written by John Gillespie Magee, an American pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force in the Second World War. He came to Britain, flew in a Spitfire squadron, and was killed at the age of nineteen on 11 December 1941 during a training flight from the airfield near Scopwick.)
Portions Of This Lovely Poem Appear On The Headstones
Of Many Interred In Arlington National Cemetery,
Particularly Aviators And Astronauts
“Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds –
and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of –
wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.
Hovering there I’ve chased the shouting wind along
and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.
“Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
and, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
put out my hand and touched the face of God.”
High Flight was composed by Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr., an American serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force. He was born in Shanghai, China in 1922, the son of missionary parents, Reverend and Mrs. John Gillespie Magee; his father was an American and his mother was originally a British citizen.He came to the U.S. in 1939 and earned a scholarship to Yale, but in September 1940 he enlisted in the RCAF and was graduated as a pilot. He was sent to England for combat duty in July 1941.
In August or September 1941, Pilot Officer Magee composed High Flight and sent a copy to his parents. Several months later, on December 11, 1941 his Spitfire collided with another plane over England and Magee, only 19 years of age, crashed to his death.
His remains are buried in the churchyard cemetery at Scopwick, Lincolnshire.
Biography and photo courtesy of the United States Air Force
I close with one of my favorite Frank Sinatra songs:
I’ve Got The World On A String
Your friend and fellow traveler,