3 Things the Pandemic Has Taught My Kite
I know the title is a little clunky. Really what I mean is what the pandemic has taught me about my kites and kite flying, but that seemed rather long for a title. Let's get down to it. Last year all of the kite festivals and gathering were canceled, and for a time even the parks and public spaces were closed. I watched as some folks championed that kite flying is the perfect activity for the socially distant mindset, and something didn't sit right. It took a few months, and a few zoom meetings with friends to figure out what was really bothersome. Flipping the pain on it's head, I am trying to look at it as a new opportunity to discover or fall deeper in love with my kites and kite flying. So here are things that the pandemic helped me see about my kite, my kite flying, and the whole shebang.
1. Kiters are My Family
This has to be the biggest thing that came into sharp relief over the last year. There are quite a few folks that have come to mean a lot to me over the years, and typically I only see them at kite festivals or kite events. They are my tribe. Some of my closest friends, my mentors, my collaborators, the people that I talk more to than I do my neighbors are those that fly kites. In the past we used to joke that those of us going to the festivals and doing performances were like a crazy traveling circus. We would see each other every few months in a different location. Now that I haven't seen some of them in over a year, it is painful. I miss them.
2. There Are Things to be Grateful For
Those that have attended one of my kite camps or have spent a late night around a campfire with me, know that I practice everyday gratitude. It is something I find is rather important in keeping the balance in life. It is simple, at the end of the day name one (or in our case three) things that you are grateful for from that day. They don't have to be big things, they can be little moments. They can be thoughts, they can be feelings. Somedays it is 'I am thankful that my coffee was ready and warm this morning', and other days it could be 'I am grateful for the positive comment that so and so gave me regarding this and that'.
I have taken to writing these things down and at the end of the year looking back over them. It was nice this year to look back on so many entries regarding simple moments with a kite. Like:
Having a moment flying my new iFlite gifted to me from Patrick Tan (the designer and builder of the iFlite) on the trails we cut through our property this summer.
Getting a message about someone who built their first kite beacuse they watched one of my tutorials
Reading a news story of an artist in Oxford that put messages of hope on kites
The feeling of kite line on my hand as I wrap them back on the winder. Sand. grime, a bit damp
Sitting in the back of the car on the Washington Coast as rain pours down, waiting for a break to shoot a video for a kite festival happening in Indiana.
3. KISS - aka. Keep It Simple Stupid
On one hand I can't believe that I had to wait for a global pandemic to remind me of this, on the other hand... well... I am grateful that it highlighted how complicated and complex I was making kites and kite flying. Sounds weird right? But, do we really need committees, and bylaws, and multi page rule books to enjoy this activity? Do we really need all of that? Nah... let's keep it as simple as possible. A few years ago I had started having the first inklings of this revelation, but the pandemic MADE it fully realized.
On that note, I am going to keep it simple. The year was complicated enough, I don't need to make it more complex by adding more lessons learned to it.
What have you learned this year, or how has it changed your kites or kiteflying?