On the first day of spring this year (March 21st) I gathered my kites and a lawn chair and headed out alone to Firehouse Park to fly a few kites.
I spent about two hours getting six single-line kites in the air at the same time (by anchoring them with ground screws). I was constantly moving (bending down, looking up, making adjustments from one kite to the next). As I packed things up to head home, I questioned why I brought a lawn chair! 😊
Photo Above: “Tim’s One-Man Kite Show” on March 21st! My goal? Ten or more kites in the air at the same time!
My intent through ST&BF is to allow opportunities for area cancer patients/survivors (& co-survivors) to connect with one another while also introducing them to a variety of healthy activities and encouraging them to “Survive, Thrive & Be Fit” following a cancer diagnosis and for the rest of their lives! As a cancer survivor myself, perhaps no one has benefitted more than I from “Great Heights with Delightful Kites”!
Last August during a “Survive, Thrive & Be Fit” event at the Christopher Farm & Gardens, property owner Jay Christopher suggested, “There would be some nice places here to fly some kites!” A couple weeks later, during a ST&BF “POP UP” Gentle Yoga for Cancer Survivors session at Deland Park, a few of us brought some kites (including hand-made kites) to test out. And a couple weeks after that we held our inaugural ST&BF “Great Heights with Delightful Kites” at the Christopher Farm & Garden that was enjoyed by about 40 cancer patients/survivors and co-survivors and included 31 different kites being flown by 24 different kite pilots!
Kite flying has something for everyone! Check out this article titled “Kite Flying for Health and Happiness: 5 Healthy Reasons to Go Fly a Kite” by Linda Wasmer Andrews (a health writer with a master’s degree in health psychology).
Andrews writes, “Kite flying is the very definition of sheer fun. For those who need more justification than that, here are five good reasons to do it.” She goes on to briefly expand on Mindfulness, Nature, Exercise, Socializing and Beauty.
If you’re looking for a casual and relaxing activity, bring a lawn chair and, after your kite has taken flight, just hold onto the string, relax and enjoy watching your kite dance in the wind!
If you’re looking for something a bit more strenuous and engaging, select a two-line power kite. With the right wind conditions and depending on the size/type of your kite, get ready for a good head to toe workout that will have you moving your neck, head and eyes as you follow the kites path; working your arms as you control the dual lines; engaging your back and core to remain balanced and erect; and digging in with your feet and legs to counter the kite’s pull!
Of course, there are plenty options in between!
I have come to experience so many joys and benefits when I follow the counsel to “Go fly a kite!” Kite flying is fun! It is relaxing! It reduces stress! It gets me outside! It is good exercise! It can be done alone or with others! It is a lifelong and intergenerational activity (that I can do with my parents and my grandkids)! It can be incredibly diverse and goes beyond simply flying a kite (and includes kite design, kite building/creating and so much more)!
You may ask, “What do you do when there is no wind?” Well, first of all, one thing I have learned is that modern kite designs and materials are much more durable, versatile, responsive and require far less wind than what I recall as a child. In fact, there are actually ultra-light indoor/windless kites that stay aloft with a gentle pull on the string or a step backwards. Interested? Check this out (it’s really cool):
I’ve not gone to ultra-light indoor/windless kites... yet! So, what do I do? Well, let me tell you what I don’t do!
One of my favorite Dr. Suess books is “Places You Will Go!” in which Suess writes:
“Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite. Or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.”
Well... I don’t wait!
Instead, on days when there is no wind... I have the perfect alternative. Instead of grabbing my kites I grab my disc golf bag and head to a nearby disc golf course! So... when it’s windy... I will go fly a kite... and when it’s calm... I’ll throw some discs at trees!!!
Note: David Bakkom (1952-2016) joined us at some “DISC-over DISC Golf” outings (as well as the Indoor Row Group, Pickleball Play and more). He called me on one occasion to express his regrets that he would not be able to join us because he was in the hospital and stated, “I’d rather be throwing discs at trees!” On those days when I may be feeling lazy or uninspired, I think of what he said as a reminder to take advantage of every moment and opportunity... and to enjoy “throwing discs at trees” (even if it wasn’t a tree that I was aiming)! 😊 RIP David!
Disc golf happens to be another ST&BF activity that, like kite flying, is one that is fun, simple and that almost anyone can do! Historically, it has not been as popular as some of our other ST&BF activities... but we’ll still schedule occasional “DISC-over DISC Golf” outings, often bundled with other more popular activities.
Be sure you are on the Local Cancer Community Update “POP UP” e-mail list to receive announcements and updates about these and other events and activities.