Today was atypically windy here. I took the opportunity to introduce our girl to kite flying with a kite we bought last weekend. She chose it for the ladybugs; one big ladybug with 9 little ladybugs in the tail. We had fun watching the kite weave and soar, spending most of an hour flying it in a nearby field.
The presence of the wind always returns me to thoughts of Wyoming, the state where I spent much of my formative years. Anyone who has spent any time there knows wind is not atypical in most parts. Sometime in the Spring of most years while growing up, my brother Chris and I each received an inexpensive kite kit in a plastic sleeve. We would assemble the enclosed sheet of plastic (almost always featuring slightly off-registered color prints of superheroes or cartoon characters), a few wooden dowels and a roll of string into something resembling a kite. The addition of staples, rubber bands and/or duct tape were sometimes necessary to get to a finished product.
We would then take our kites into the expansive and treeless landscape to fly them until something broke, ripped or was lost. Inevitably we would crash, make repairs and repeat. I don't remember any kite lasting much more than one day of flight, and usually a lot less. I'm certain we weren't exploring any new ground in aeronautics, but it kept two boys out of the house and occupied for a few hours at the end of a long winter. As a parent, I now see the intrinsic value of this activity from a different angle.
It seems that in the intervening thirty-some years that inexpensive kites have gotten a lot nicer. The ladybug kite came mostly pre-assembled, made of a durable nylon fabric and fiberglass struts. It even has a nice string spool with integral hand grip. These are all good factors that add up to the ability of this kite to fly another day. I'm pretty sure I'll have an eager pilot any time the wind returns.