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August 18, 2007

Up to the Highest Height

As far as I can recall, I'd only ever managed to fly a kite once in my life. It was during a summer romance into which I fell after graduating from high school, but that went terribly, terribly wrong when I embarked for college in the fall. Try as I might, I can't remember what put the notion into our heads to try the wind, but I doubt that I'll forget the sensation of ease — of simple existence and destiny — that I had as we discovered that we could sit down in the field and just hold the string. It was so natural. So easy. The kite just flew as if sliding into its natural state.

Fourteen years later, almost to the day (I'd estimate), another kite responded to my sprint across a field. This one had hung on my home office wall for about a year, a gift from my grandparents, a Chinese design, inspired as a gift, no doubt, by the ethnicity of my uncle's wife. My daughters took turns restraining the paper and wood bird, and I watched lest some seagull or crow would take offense.

At the tips of the trees, today, I've noticed the first hints of the colors of autumn. Anticipation of the season comes to me from my tongue, as well, as the pumpkin beers have found their way upon the cooler shelves once again. Mowing the lawn in the cool, warm air, I felt the fall and therefore felt the familiar longing for tradition and for fate.

School starts soon, although as a working man, I can scarcely believe that the summer used to feel so long. The trade-off for time's rapid elision, I suppose, is that the autumns of my life have never brought kindred humanity so close.

If you want the sense of autumn properly felt, work your way through some collection or other of Nathaniel Hawthorne's short stories. Halloween has it right that spirits walk in the fall, but the holiday errs in its celebration of terror. Kite in hand and progeny nearby, we might discover that we've the closest of friends one-hundred and forty-three years dead. Perchance the clouds were just so for them, as well.

Posted by Justin Katz at August 18, 2007 6:09 PM
Life