Story by Isabel Jacobson
I never expected the magic of the red-stringed kite to happen so quickly. I had just picked up my package from the leasing office after receiving the notice in my mail box, and was headed down to Sedona for a Sunday drive. Before I headed out, I packed up my things and placed the box in the back seat of my car, not sure if I was going to fly the kite that day or not.
The drive through Oak Creek Canyon was beautiful that day. The late afternoon sun lit up the canyon walls and softened the bare trees as my car made its way down to the canyon floor. It was a warm fall day and I wanted to get the most out of the ending week.
Arriving in Sedona, I instinctively headed to Cathedral Park on the western outskirts of town. Cathedral Park is an open desert space known by tourists and locals for its spectacular sunsets and nighttime star gazing. Many people and tour groups visit to capture the sunsets on their phones and hike the trails that cross the desert.
I pulled into the open lot just below the main hill where people park for sunset viewing, and opened the back door of my car. I decided to see what kind of gift had been granted me, this artisan, hand-made kite whose intentions are to bring back the ancient art of solitude and happy-making. A gift to share with friends, or to contemplate life itself as you soar it just below the clouds.
Perhaps the kite is much like our thoughts, drifting higher and higher into the sky, settling itself in the wind, and as the kite soars, so do your dreams and wishes. Then, you are one with the movement of the soft-clothed triangle, the string in your hands as you guide and dance the kite higher. Your mind and focus are above and joy enters your heart, and you smile in simplicity and ease.
I contemplated these thoughts as I opened the box. A brown scroll rolled around the unassebled kite revealed the instructions and elements of the kite, such as how to assemble the spar to the wing. And the next step, how to hook the ring onto the kite's bridle. I left the knot where it was, as according to the instructions under slower wind conditions a looser ring hold is more conducive to the kite's success. For a stronger wind, the instructions recommended a tighter ring tension.
According to the Little Cloud Kites website each kite design was originally hand-painted then specially printed on organic cotton imported from India. A neighbor makes the wood pieces and the reel is comprised entirely of red hemp string. I marveled at this as I touched the red string, strong and beautiful—absolutely my favorite piece. This vivid red string felt special, almost magical, as if it played some part in a fairytale. It was one of those delightful touches that you aren't expecting—an artist's inspiration.
I was like a kid with something neat in my possession, having been given this kite that felt ancient somehow, like a flying dragon of some sort, a mythical creature whose destiny was at my whim and skill. I got to direct this piece of art into the sky and witness it flapping high above me, shining it's painted face upon the world. My delight was unexpected. More so, I felt a responsibility to this kite, to get it off the ground and into the sky where it could soar and fulfill its purpose.
I did not get the kite soaring into the sky that day, despite my spontaneity. But because of it, I made a special connection.
I had just assembled the kite—after reading such words as bridle, spar, spreader (and quite proud of myself for having learned some new nomenclature)—and was ready for this kite to take flight.
I was a little unconfident, I'll admit, having last flown a kite when I was a kid, and even then, having help getting it off the ground. Two persons are better than one, the instructions recommended—one person to release the kite while the other glides it into the air. But it can be done by one, the instructions also noted. Just thread the string out a few feet, raise the kite, and with a quick pull you're airborne!
Of course. This is easy, I said to myself. I can do this. It's a kite. It's natural. Well, I made one attempt. Then another. Perhaps I should watch a YouTube video, I thought to myself, vowed, actually: how to launch a kite, party of one. If wind conditions are minimal, and you've never sent a four-foot wide kite in the air by yourself, it's not as easy as it looks. It seemed the wind struck up a few times for my sake, and in those times I made other attempts.
Out in the desert, wind conditions are apparent. That day the air was mild and soft and tranquil. Much like the feeling of fall. It was nice being outside on that warm afternoon, feeling the air and the sun and breathing that time of day. It was a wonderful reason to learn about kite flying—and kite making—discovering things I had not known before.
And because of that day, on my first attempt at flying a kite, after years of not flying a kite—let alone seeing anyone else fly one—I made a friend.
Perhaps it's the perceived innocence of seeing someone attempt to fly a kite, or maybe it's that flying a kite by its very nature makes someone seem approachable. Whatever the reason, that very day it brought two people together. A fellow traveler and I met in the desert lot and engaged in deep metaphysical conversation. She was visiting the desert from out of town to catch the sunset and had been sitting in her car waiting for dusk. She told me her story and I lent a listening ear. She spoke of her hopes and joys and her reasons for visiting the healing desert. I spoke of my own philosophies, and we exchanged a camaraderie that travelers often do. Because of the magic of the red-stringed kite (I like to joyfully think), because of my openness to explore nature's beauty and my quest for a little adventure, I made the acquaintance of someone I would not have ordinarily met. And the sleight hand of the universe, I also like to think, played a part bringing together a kinship and meeting of souls.
Soon after we parted, I took down the spread, rolled up the wings, and placed the kite into its quiver. I marveled at this “happy-making” kite that united two strangers for a brief meeting, joined of heart-felt communion and one that I hoped would happen again.
On my way through town and back up the canyon, I smiled to myself, delighted and surprised at my synchronistic encounter, looking forward to the next adventure, and sure of the magic of my red-stringed kite.
Rebekah is a HeartMath® Certified Coach and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.