Just posted this video today from the recent Lincoln City kite Festival Memorial Fly. It has me thinking about several things. There are several key kite people (to me that is) that have passed recently, and it has me keenly aware of the shortness of our experience here on this world. Granted, part of this is the usual thoughts that come with getting older, and every few years it creeps back in when a particular death hits close to home.
Over the past few years I have also been noticing a trend in the kite world as I was pouring over the statistics, watching the obituaries, and witnessing the memorials.... It is something that is nothing new to most of the people in 'that traditional kite community'.
Side note, I hate to say 'that traditional kite community', but there is a big difference from say the kite community of the 90's, and the one that is out there now that exists completely independent of the infrastructure and connections of the other. The one of the 90's is the one of events and festivals, it is the one of Bol Races, Sport Kite Competitions, it is those that know about or are members of the American Kitefliers Association. From here on out I will just call this the '90's Kite Community', because a common theme or comment I heard from many of them is lamenting how the scene USED to be back in the 90's and early 2000's; seen as the heyday of kite flying in the United States (particularly sport kite). They use that memory as the lens for seeing how many kite fliers are out there today and the picture looks grim. Often times I have come into contention with them about removing these blinders and opening their perspectives to see the kite fliers that are up and coming in non traditional ways... but... it is a battle that isn't worth the effort for me.
On the other hand you have the other 'kite world', which perhaps from here on out I will call the digital fliers. Not quite sold on that name for them, but I can't bring myself to calling them the 'millennial fliers'. Although.. there is some poetic fun to calling them the Millennium Fliers. (insert a photo of me rolling my own eyes at that rather bad Star Wars pun). It is funny how many people want to attach all the negative generational bashing tropes to millennial's and don't want to see all of the good and innovative way they are doing things.... but... that is yet another battle that I am tired of fighting. Well, these digital fliers are active on line. They are creating videos, they are posting to instagram, they are hosting virtual kite events. They are flying for themselves and enjoying the moment. They don't care about the formalized and traditional festival/events of the 90's kite flier, and are very likely to never attend one.
Back to the subject at hand, and the original thought that started this whole thing. The two kite worlds are generally unaware of one another. While the one is growing (digital fliers), the other is dying off (90's Fliers). Sadly, by dying off I am actually being literal here. There are more and more memorial kites being lifted into the sky, and fewer people to hold the line.
Again, I do realize that this is nothing new to most folks, it is and has been the painful reality for some time. I have been trying to create a bridge between the two kite communities. Trying to capture the general expertise and knowledge of the 90's fliers and pass it on to the digital fliers before it is lost. The digital fliers are not going to dig in a dusty physical magazine, or read your posters created in Microsoft Word. They want easy to digest soundbites, videos, and pdf archives. I am in a race against time, one I know that ultimately I can not win...... death will come and take away the experts before I am able to capture the breadth of their knowledge and preserve it. That is the way of the world. New generations will have to partially re-invent the wheel all over again, and perhaps one day see a faint reference somewhere to that one guy that did it long before them.
But.... I am trying.... I am trying and asking my friends and all of those wonderful people I know in the 90's flier community to do the same. I don't want to be the last one on the field holding a white kite for all of you..... Please take a minute to think about how you can record the knowledge you have (no matter who you are). Think about how you can preserve it and pass it on.
If it is kite related... throw it in the Playground here on Fortuna Found! That is a great place to start.
Love to you all.