Can you fly a kite?

Tomorrow is the 41st Annual Smithsonian Kite Festival on the National Mall. I've gone to the kite festival during most of the years that I've been in D.C. (usually with Floyd). But I'm really excited about this year's event--partly, because I haven't been to the Mall in such a long time.

When I was in college, I used to go to the Mall at least once a week. I'd read poetry, have a picnic, watch the sunset, throw around a ball, or just watch the tourists. I love the National Mall as it provides so many different areas for recreation and reflection: the quieter areas near the Constitution Gardens vs. the open space around the Washington Monument (and that pretty old tree!). I used to love to sit on the back steps of the Lincoln Memorial (where I fell…), watch the soccer games on the south fields, or relax on the comfy seating in the National Gallery West. Now that I live so far from the Mall, my weekend Mall ritual has faded. Hopefully, tomorrow's trip will motivate me to regularly visit to the green space that I've missed so much.

(For now, I will refrain from commenting on the recent changes to the Mall landscape, though I'll refer you to The National Coalition to Save Our Mall.)

Okay, back to the kite festival. I plan on bringing a kite, but I'm not sure if I'll actually fly it. I'm sort of a wimpy kite flyer as a result of a tragic experience from my childhood that still scars my precious kite memories.

One beautiful, windy, March day in suburban Atlanta, my uncle took me to an open field to fly my kite (BTW, that field is now covered with an 100-unit subdivision…oh, don't get me started on Atlanta's ugly, ad hoc residential and commercial developments). I spent at least an hour flying my pretty pink kite low in the sky, with the wind in my face, the breeze in my hair. My uncle offered to fly my kite even higher. Reluctantly, I acquiesced. He did fly the kite high. It quickly gained altitude, and I looked up to marvel at my pretty pink kite flying among the white clouds. Yet, before he knew it, my uncle ran out of kite string.

My kite was gone.

Being a silly, little girl, I cried all the way home. Being a silly, young woman, I still hold a scar and a grudge from that day of gloriously flying, then tragically losing my pretty pink kite.

That's the true story of why I'm such an anxious kite flyer.

(Hey Floyd, is this long enough for you?)

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