The young boy stood at the mouth of the trail, a wide berth at the end of a long winding path shrouded in large oak trees and wispy southern pines. The trail had been relatively dark as the large, flat leaves of the great oaks had beat back the sunlight, but the field beyond the path bathed in the warmth of spring, reclined and relaxed as if it were wrapped in a warm, comfortable blanket.
The sky above, a deep azure reminiscent of the royal blue finger paint he had used just days before, arched over the trees that surrounded the field as far as he could see. Not a cloud smeared the perfect sky. A slight breeze tickled his face as he stood there momentarily taking it all in. Spring days were the best for many things, especially flying a kite.
His dad motioned for him to follow him, and they began their climb to the top of the small, terraced hill in the center of field. Tall grass buffeted him like ocean waves lapping against the bow of a boat. The thin blades danced to the tune of the breeze much like the shaggy copper hair that sat atop the young boy’s head. The sun set his hair ablaze in its glorious light, and it sparkled as he traipsed up the hill behind his father.
The field, a large clearing amidst the canopy of thick trees, stood half a mile wide in either direction once they reach its pinnacle. The terraces, the only remnant of farming that had long since ceased, looked like steps for a giant who may have once played on this very field, or so the boy thought. Now, only cows grazed along the wide steps, but none could be seen at the moment. The boy scanned the horizon until he located a small number of the herd against a fence in the distance.
His dad unwound the kite that he had carried into the field as the boy watched in heightened anticipation. He loved the spring, but he especially loved the sweet breezes of March that invited him to fly a kite. He loved to watch the kite soar up into the sky and mount the breeze. No matter the physics behind it all, kites enthralled him. He wished he could fly with it. It must be wonderful to float in the air so high above the trees.
The kite stretched wider than the boy was tall. Its white plastic flapped in the wind as the stern eagle emblazoned on the front stared at him. It’s talons perched at the bottom of the kite as if it were descending on some unsuspecting prey. The eagle momentarily frightened the boy, but such fears were lost in the excitement of flight. He grasped the handle that held the spool of string, looked at his father for the all clear, and bounded down the hill with the kite in tow.
The kite flapped and tittered as if it were afraid to fly. The tip shot up and did a full circle back to the ground. It threatened to crash nose first before a gust of wind grabbed it and saved it from almost certain annihilation. The boy looked back with a smile so big that it consumed his face. The flowing copper locks pursued him down the hill as the kite ascended higher and higher. The boys short legs reached maximum speed and he thumped down the hill and across the uneven terraces like an aimless baby rhino.
His breath escaped him, and he slowed down, but he could feel the familiar tug of the taut string at his hand. The kite had reached its maximum altitude and fluttered in the wind as it tugged on the anchor. The boy stopped and turned around to look at the object of his affection. The eagle stared back with fierce determination as if it battled the wind to stay in flight. He imagined that it screeched its approval. He chuckled at the thought and tugged at the spool to steady the kite. The breeze licked his face. His smile refused to recede.
His father loped down the hill much more slowly than the boy had descended, but his long legs took him farther with each step, and before the boy could settle into the groove with his kite, his father stood at his side. He coached the boy, and the boy followed his directions, steadily guiding the kite in the wind. Father and son sat on the ground amidst the tall grass and watched the kite together. The sun brightened their faces, but it paled in comparison to the moment they shared.