Since I was a young boy I had a fascination with the sky. I loved to lay in the grass and watch the deep blue sky. Feeling the damp green grass on my back and the hot, warm sun beating on my face and chest warmed my space. The sky seemed to journey on forever around the earth filled with birds, butterflies and bees in flight. One of my favorites as a childhood memory was to walk to the park on a windy day. Holding my favorite kite in my hands with the sun at my back I would strategically plan my flight. We lived in the city in a neighborhood lined with trees so heading the park was essential. I was proud of my traditional triangle kite equipped with a tail made from bed sheets that Dad cut for me and hundreds of feet of string.
As I approached the open field in Roosevelt park, I would launch my colorful kite into sky. Setting it free, unwinding the string deliberately, my goal was alway to get it as high as my stringed allowed me.
I would imagine my kite could travel around the world as I stood there for hours wondering what it would look like from its view in flight. How far could I see if I was in flight with the kite? It seemed so far in the distance that I imagined it was in China. The breeze always seemed to speed my thoughts and it elevated my kite higher and farther away in the sunny blue sky of 1970’s. Through out the years my fascination continued as I remembered my collection of kites dated back some 38 years ago. This photo journal tells the story of the a day in the summer of 2014, we spent with our very special friends. Sharing the simple pleasure of getting a kite in flight with the same excitement as we did as children quickly filled the afternoon with relaxing fun. Beautiful day, best friends and the site of kites filling the sky. There is something so cathartic maybe reaching your inner child during the experience of flying a kite. The assertion of the kite in wind, that excitement of achievement and the silliness of success pushes you back to youth. One of the most challenging kites to get in flight is my box kite. I am never successful getting in flight by myself. Though I try each time, it never takes flight without help. Without-a-doubt, no matter where I am, someone I do not know always offers to help me. Im not sure what it is, maybe the curiosity of the classic traditional box in all its wonder that becomes a magnet to meet new people. Today a young boy and his Mom watched me struggle trying to bet the box in flight. I could hear the boy and his Mom nudge him to help. He was too shy to step forward, so I turned, looked at Mom for approval and said, “I need some muscle young man can you help me?” He jumped up eager to help me get the box in flight. Truth is the box, needs a fast running start that is not part of my middle age tool box anymore. I handed him the spool and said, “ok partner your driving so I will hold the kite and you start running.” With determination the young blond boy ran and ran as I let go of the box kite as it took flight in the deep blue sky. His Mom and I cheered as the boy stood in amazement as the box took flight in the sky. He let the string out and the box drifted higher and higher in the sky until we could barely see the speck of rainbow color. One after one we put each of five kites into the sky that afternoon. Some of my kites were held secure by my best friends and other by new friends I made that day. A day of sharing filled my heart
By the evening we traveled from Milwaukee to Two Rivers to meet our family for a night launch of hot air lanterns. We each had our lantern of different colors that we would launch in the night sky.
The beach was full of people from the community who anticipated the lantern launch as acoustic guitar music filled the cool air of Northern Lake Michigan. The night was calm. There was a sense of unity on the beach that evening. We assembled and supported each other as the lantern flames grew larger filling its volume with hot air that would launch it into flight. Like the box kite, the lantern required a relationship to successfully launch it into the sky. We gathered together to support each lantern in flight. As we launched them into flight, the release had significant meaning for me. The lanterns flight could symbolize the letting go of something or possibly the start of something new in ones life. In either case, the hush of the water and the cool air refreshed your sense of belonging with in the world. The day could not have been more fulfilling spending it with family and friends with the grand finale of fireworks in the night sky. I am grateful and blessed for the abundance of love I have in my life