There is nothing more therapeutic than flying a kite.
This surprises me. You wouldn’t think such a simple pursuit would bring much joy. All you’re doing is standing there, holding onto a string. The wind does all the work for you. Sure, you have to tug on it occasionally and make an adjustment or two to ensure that the whole thing doesn’t plummet to earth, but otherwise you’re pretty much just standing still with your neck craned skyward. And yet, there is undeniable joy in the act. A sense of freedom and adventure that is unparalleled.
This past weekend, Tara and I took a trip to the Oregon coast. Saturday was Cinco de Mayo, and Lincoln City was advertising a fish taco cook-off. This sounded like something fun to do and a perfect excuse for a romantic getaway, so we booked a room in a cheapish motel on the edge of a cliff and headed out early in the morning. We stopped to visit briefly with my aunt on the way, and then continued on to Lincoln City, arriving at the Culinary Center (which also doubles as the fourth floor of the local library) a few minutes past noon. Perfect timing. Tacos were $1 each and there were six teams competing, so we bought enough tickets to try all six. There was a good mix of fish – three cod, one tilapia, one salmon, and one blackened mako shark – and beer to wash them all down. Then, with several hours to kill before it was time to check into our room, we drove south along the coast, holding hands and rocking out to music. Just north of Newport we stopped at Beverly Beach. Before our trip Tara decided she wanted to fly a kite on the beach, and I thought this was a wonderful idea, as neither of us had ever done so. She picked up a couple of cheap kites from Target – $2.98 on clearance – and we were good to go!
We walked to the beach and tore open the packaging, quickly assembling our kites. The Oregon coast is always windy, so we weren’t afraid of catching a good breeze. It took a try or two to get them in the air, but before long we had unspooled the full 75′ length of string and our kites were dancing in the sky, weaving and bobbing, buffeted by the gusty winds. And for the next half hour I lost myself in the experience.
I’m not even sure how or why it happened, but I gotta say, it was pure joy. I hadn’t flown a kite in many years, the last time being when my kids were very young, and on those previous rare occasions I was never able to keep it in the air for long. Saturday afternoon, along the coast, this was not a problem. I stood there mesmerized, watching my kite fly with the constant sound of the crashing surf as my backdrop, and I felt the weight of the world simply melt away, all my cares scattered in the wind until they dissolved. I thought of my previous trips to the beach, how I longed for somebody to share my adventures with, and was overcome with elation because this time, finally, I had somebody very special with me. She was a few dozen yards away, flying her own kite, and looked every bit as happy as I did. This warmed my heart.
I love her so much.
And then I was running down the beach, my kite chasing me from seventy-five feet in the air, the sand beneath my toes and the Pacific Ocean lapping at my ankles. Giddy like a child. Free like a bird. I had found happiness at the end of a string.
If you’re ever feeling stressed out in life, go fly a kite. Your worries will melt away. I guarantee this.
The rest of the weekend was bliss. We checked into our room that evening and enjoyed Bloody Marys on our ocean view deck before heading out to dinner. The food was delicious: coconut shrimp for me, a sauteed seafood sampler for Tara, and some of the best clam chowder we had ever tried. We arrived back at the beach just in time to catch a fantastic sunset, and fell asleep that night to the sound of the ocean. Sunday we wanted to take the long way home, so we meandered up the coast, all the way from Lincoln City to Astoria, and had to drive across the bridge because, well, the Astoria-Megler Bridge is awesome and whisks you across the mouth of the Columbia River to Washington. We stopped at the Astoria Column and I convinced Tara to climb the 164 steps to the top for a breathtaking view of…well, everything. You can see for miles and miles in all directions, and the sky was cloudless and blue. Afterwards, we stopped for dinner at a former cannery that had been transformed into a brewhouse and then took the final leg back home. With all the stops we made it took us over nine hours from the time we set out, but it was a fantastic day and a wonderful weekend.
I couldn’t be happier.