The kite was invented in China almost 3,000 years ago and used for applications ranging from entertainment, to signaling and military communication. In the late 1200′s Marco Polo brought talk of kites to Europe, and by the 18th century they were being used to conduct scientific experiments. Perhaps the most famous of these experiments is Benjamin Franklin’s fabled attempts to prove that lightning is electricity.
Most of us learned how to fly a kite when we were little, hopefully sans lightning and electrocution. I have vague memories of building kites in elementary school, and I’m sure I must have flown one at some point, but for the life of me I can’t remember when. Chris, on the other hand, does remember flying kites. Given his upper hand, he made our kite selection when we went to Toys ‘R Us last week in search of the perfect vehicle to celebrate this day. The store had a few selections in their seasonal section, and Chris ultimately settled on an $8 multi-colored stunt kite about 3 feet wide.
When we left work at four o’clock this afternoon we thought it would be the perfect day for kite flying. It was a little nippy out, but the wind was blowing and we weren’t far from South Run Park in Springfield, VA. When we arrived at the park Chris hastily put the kite together and we headed toward an empty field. Empty, that is, with the exception of goose shit as far as the eye could see. Once I got used to tip-toeing around the vast expanse of avian land-mines, we put ourselves to work and tried to get the kite up in the air.