On Autumn Kiting

I hadn’t flown my kite in months.

For the last month especially, on weekends Baltimore turned into an eastern suburb with Seattle, with heavy rains and driving winds. And on weekends when it wasn’t raining, the air was completely still. Not a bit a wind, not even a puff.

Rain, naturally, is not conducive to kiting. It wasn’t getting zapped by lightning that worried me; I accidentally knocked myself out a few years ago by trying to get a cat out from behind the stove, so I’m used to the shock of the lightning. No, it’s the field where I go kiting; it would turn into a bog, much like the rest of the world here has been soggy.

The lack of wind is really more of a problem than the rain.

Today, though. Today I thought I had my chance.

It was autumnal. It wasn’t exactly warm, but it wasn’t cold, either. The sky was very clear, a waxing gibbous moon hung in the eastern sky. There was a breeze, but it was inconsistent. It was worth the attempt.

(Words I’ve always wanted to use. “Waxing gibbous.”)

And anyway, I’d played some LEGO Star Wars already today and I needed something different.

I put on a long-sleeve rugby shirt, shorts, anklets, and my old beaten-up sneakers. Grabbed up the kite’s bag — it’s a frameless parachute kite — and set off for the field, about a quarter of a mile away.

The wind wasn’t consistent. Sometimes it was blowing due west, then it would shift to due south. But generally it was blowing southwest, and I ended up staring into the sun for long stretches.

I never got the kite particularly high, maybe 100 feet out and sixty feet up. (The trigonometric formulae come unbidden to my mind.) And that wasn’t for long, because the wind died away and I hauled in line rapidly to try and get the kite airborne again.

I stayed out about forty minutes. It was peaceful.

And I opened up a gash on my leg when I tripped over a fallen tree branch. Which puzzles me, because there wasn’t a single tree within forty yards of that spot.

After I came back, I watched last week’s Merlin. The one with Emilia Fox as Morgause.

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