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About Kites and Windy Days

My dad and I lay on the soft earth, watching our creation bounce and dip

What I know about wind I learned from my father when I was 6 years old. Buffeted by blustery wind, my dad and I walked the few blocks from home to the abandoned farm at the edge of town, carrying a homemade kite with a long fluttery tail. We crafted the kite from newspaper, string and balsa-wood sticks. I thought my dad could build anything. Would it fly or would it crash? After some trial and error, the kite rose into the air like a bird on the wing.

windy days

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My dad and I lay on the soft earth, watching our creation bounce and dip. We talked about many things, especially the wind and the weather, and how nature worked to nurture this great land. I invited others to our next flight, and by the end of the summer that old farm had dozens of kites flying over its rooftops every day.

Last March, I took my 6-year-old granddaughter and a homemade kite to a kite-flying festival. Our silly kite was humble and small among the beautiful high-tech flying machines dipping and diving around us. It didn't fly as high as those technological wonders, nor did it fly as far, but as we lay on the soft green grass with the sun warming our faces, I told her wondrous stories of kites.

Stories of the boy who flew a kite across Niagara Falls to help build a massive bridge; of Ben Franklin, and his experiment with electricity using a kite. And I told her about the times I lay in the soft warm earth of that old farm with my dad. That goofy kite crafted from paper and strings connected generations and sparked the imagination and wonder about the world around us.

Jennifer O'Rourke is a reader from Chico, Calif.

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