The holidays are over and in some ways that’s not so bad. The weather has been interesting to say the least. We’ve had blizzards and sunshine. And even some wind.

Wind is nature’s unsung hero. It can be cold and icy coming straight from the North Sea. Sometimes it’s warm and welcoming – a gentle breeze brushing the cheek. Above all it’s unpredictable. In today’s world where society strives to make everything more predictable and safe, the wind is a reminder that we never can, nor should, control the elements but run with them instead. Literally we must go with the flow.

It’s rare to find Balmedie Beach busy
Armed with 5 kites and a “go-for-it” attitude, MJ and I went to Balmedie Beach. This is the one shrouded in controversy as Donald Trump has bought the land and intends to put a golf course there. So opportunities to visit may become more limited.

Kite flying is a subtle art. It requires feeling the wind and knowing when to lift, pull and coax the kite into action. We started with the cheapest kite – a plastic one that claimed to be for beginners. It flew beautifully. It went up into the air and hung around appreciating the praise we bestowed upon it.

This 99p kite worked wonderfully well. Easy enough for a 5-yr old to handle!
Next, we went for the posh equivalent. A little more challenging to get off the ground. However it also flew so well that we attached it to a big log and let it fly itself.

This was the kite that happily flew itself whilst we tried out the others
Then the work began. The diamond kite was where MJ cut his kite-flying teeth. This took patience and tenacity but he got there in the end.

MJ learning the subtle art of kite raising!
The box kite was too tricky to put together. The rods and holes were too fine for my frozen hands to put together. It also needed the label cut off. I find it bizarre that kite manufacturers put labels on kites as this affects the balance of the kite. It’s unfair!

Satisfaction comes through effort!
Finally, we had a fancy kite. It was a parrot. From the moment we took it out of its packet I knew it was doomed as I couldn’t even get it to hang right. It tried its very best but the poor thing was just aerodynamically wrong.  So we let it swoop around us for about 15 minutes before letting it come to rest.

Poor old parrot. It never got to taste the freedom of flying high!
All-in-all, I think kite flying is an absorbing activity, all year round for classes or families. It is so satisfying to get a kite up into the air and work with the wind and learn about its foibles and quirks. It’s a way of connecting with nature in a way that mud can’t. We need the four elements: earth, air, fire and water to feed our souls. Kite flying is a satisfying food for thought and fun outside.

A great website to find out more about kites is The Drachen Foundation. It has lots of interesting information, history and advice about kites. There are kits to buy and the education links and benefits of studying kites included.

(Written, in haste, as a contribution to Children and Nature Blogshare at Backyard Mama. Worth a visit as we’re all writing about such different things on a common theme).

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Debi April 14, 2010 at 21:12

Juliet, what a lovely post — written in haste or not! We love kite flying, too. I couldn’t agree more that the wind is one of nature’s most powerful elements. In a recent, windy trip to Hawaii, we learned to embrace it instead of fight it. Powerful lesson, at least for us. Thanks for sharing!


CreativeSTAR April 27, 2010 at 05:46

Thanks Debi

I think there are many closet kite fans all over the world. One of my most memorable workshops was attending a one where we made kites…from bin liners and plastic bags. One was a 6ft long dragon which really did fly quite nicely.

Best wishes


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