March in Minnesota is a funny month. One day can be warm, sunny and windy. Another day can be cold, snowy and windy. And even though March winds will blow, I think it must have been April or May, years ago, that my brothers and I were flying kites.
Not only did we fly kites, we also loved to build them. We had a book of kite designs and we were determined to build and fly as many of them as possible. We had pretty much mastered the construction of the classic triangle kite. A few wooden sticks from the hardware store, some newspaper for the sail, and a tail made from torn T-shirts completed the job. These kites soared and so did our confidence.
I don’t know why the box kite caught our eye. Maybe it was because it looked so easy to build or maybe we had the impression from the book that this kite would fly really high. And it was unique. Nobody we knew had a box kite.
We spent hours after school working on our box kite. Finally one Saturday morning, when the kite was done and the wind was blowing, we took the kite out to fly. Fueled with enthusiasm and youthful energy, we just couldn’t get that box up more than a couple feet. We tried running with the wind and into the wind. We lengthened the tail, we removed the tail. We changed the way we had attached the line to the kite. Nothing helped. Eventually we went back to flying our classic kites.
The box kite never went out again. We tore it apart to use the sticks for future kites. We never knew why it wouldn’t fly high. Maybe it was too heavy. Maybe it was too big. It didn’t really matter. We were just kids who loved playing with kites.