Open Sky, Open Mind

Whitney Richardson
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Part I: Making a Go of It

My experience with kites began on Coney Island with two female friends of mine, Lee and Julia. We made a beach date – our bags packed with some of the vices of youth (beer, cigarettes) and a handful of kites from the dollar store. I watched as Julia and Lee tried to assemble the kites and then fly them. They came without instructions for assembly. We felt a little inadequate not knowing how to put together such common objects without referring to directions. We tried to figure it out ourselves.

After four failed and broken kites, I put together the last one based on observations I’d made from what happened to the others, and it worked. It stayed up! It stayed up until a young boy and his mom marched along with their own kite, getting tangled up in mine. I laughed as I tried to unravel the lines. The parent and child gave up and moved on, letting their cheaply made kite die a lonely death. A small particle of air inside of me began to stir. The experience made an impression on Lee, too.

Lee began to make kites and included me in the process. I am often full of ideas but too hyper to carry them out, bubbling with more ideas and falling prey to the pinball mind. Lee’s proactive spirit assuaged me into sitting down to actually make them. So there we were, sitting down and making kites together. We would walk to the park to fly them, usually Bedford or McGolrick Park in north Brooklyn, New York.

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