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The Sassy Sandpiper: Never Too Old to Go Fly a Kite

Kite | Sassy Sandpipiper | M.R. Wilson

The Sassy Sandpiper says that flying a kite is touching freedom.

By M.R. Wilson, Columnist, TB Reporter

Before March went out like a lamb, I found my kite and string (of course, they were not stored together) and headed for the perfect flying venue—the vast open field at Joe’s Creek Greenway Park.

The weather could not have been more cooperative:  flawless cornflower blue skies, an enthusiastic breeze at ground level, and playful upswelling currents aloft. My kite, a “Brilliant Firebird,” ascended immediately; no need for a clumsy pre-flight run-launch by yours truly.

My heart leaped. As the Firebird pulled up and up, I thought of Diane Ackerman’s memoir On Extended Wings: An Adventure in Flight. The fluttering kite became an extension of my spirit, grounded yet tugging for freedom and far off lands. Imagine what that Firebird could see below and to the horizon. I counted five turkey vultures soaring much farther up on warm updrafts. A couple of crows dodged by. The most striking vista of all was a flock of white ibis making its way northward, pumping strenuously against the wind while making it all look effortless.

The blustery day also inspired Carolyn Rowe Selsor to bring her 11-year-old grandson, Jadon, to the park. A St. Petersburg resident since 1961, Carolyn played in Joe’s Creek as a kid.  Nowadays she frequents the Greenway with her dogs, Finley and Prudence. Hoping to encourage him to enjoy being outdoors, she bought the kite for Jadon

His grandfather came along to help.

“Grandpa and Jadon had a great time flying the kite. Once he got the hang of it, he didn’t want to stop,” Carolyn said.

I know the feeling.

It was time to get on with the day, on with being an adult and doing “important” adult things. With reluctance, I reeled in my Firebird. It pulled back, dancing and dipping. Okay, it was fighting. Fighting to remain airborne with nothing touching it but sky and sunshine. It was proud. Who was this lowly terrestrial creature tugging her to the “surly bonds of earth“?

Thankfully, she didn’t crash land. My heart sank a little as I gently picked her up, rewound the string and folded up Firebird’s wings. I detached her neon yellow and hot pink tail streamers.

I did not put Firebird back in the box to be tucked away in storage. She is perched in the garage, reminding me of better things to do besides laundry.

M.R. Wilson | Sassy Sandpiper | Joe’s Creek Greenway Park | Kites | Kite Flying | Tampabay News

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