One of the joys of boyhood, especially for those living in the countryside where there are lots of open space, is flying a kite.
In my time, we made our own kites, starting from the most simple ones, like the "boca-boca", which was a sheet of paper we used in grade school folded at the sides to which we attached a spool of fine sewing thread. We held the kite with its string and ran with it in the field. It did not fly if you did not run, nor did it fly higher than a few feet.
When we grew older, we cut strips of bamboo, shaped them into thin pieces, joined them with string into a frame over which we pasted very thin "papel de hapon" (Japanese paper) or cellophane. This type of kite, called "sapi-sapi," had a tail, which was usually made also of long strips of papel de hapon, or paper ribbons tied at intervals onto a feet or two of string.
We did not have to run to make our "sapi-sapi" fly. However, it took two boys to do it. One held the kite positioned against the wind. The other held the string on a spool. The kite only had to be pushed a little upward and the wind took over. We could then see the kite soaring while we released the string little by little.
It gave us so much fun looking at not only our kite, but those of others, flying and swaying up in the air. The kites were of different colors and sizes parading in the clear blue sky. We even engaged in kite fights. It was fun!
When we grew older into high school, we graduated into bigger and heavier kites, called the "gurion."
The gurion was in the basic shape of a big bird, like an eagle, or even other animals or things, and it could stay higher and longer in the air. We added a wide strip of rubber band between its tips to make it produce a big whizzing sound as the kite flyer manipulated it by tugging at the string. But the kite flyer had to be strong, otherwise the kite could slip from his grasp and fly away, never to return. The kite fights were also more exciting.
The flying field was not exclusively populated by boys. Many men were there with their kids. Their kites were bigger, with more ornate designs, and could make more tricks up in the air.
Kite flying makes one really look heavenward while keeping his feet planted firmly on the ground.
At the Ascension of the Lord, the apostles looked heavenward, as well:
". . . as they were looking on, he (Jesus) was lifted up,
and a cloud took him from their sight.
While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going,
suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.
They said, "Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?
This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven
will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven." (Acts 1:11)
I think my days of kite-making and kite-flying are over.
But it is still time to look heavenward.
Much more so now. The Lord has ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.
Unlike a kite whose movement is controlled from the ground, it is my hope to soar heavenward, when it is time, free from my temporal moorings, and just stay there where Jesus sits with the Father and is adored by those who tried to look up to the sky.
This is the same hope and desire I have for those I love.
And for you who read this, and your loved ones!! #