Mason County News
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AROUND THE SQUARE
Wednesday, April 28, 2010 • Posted April 28, 2010

Go fly a kite.

Go jump in the lake.

It’s perfect weather for both.

Well…maybe the water is a little cold.

But it sounds fun just the same.

Especially flying a kite.

Kite flying is as old as the hills.

3,000 years old, give or take.

China invented the kite.

They had silk.

They had bamboo.

So they said, "Let’s make something."

And then they flew them as instruments of war.

Kites lifted fireworks up in the air to scare the enemy.

And lifted observers to scout out the scene before going into battle.

In 930 A.D., Japanese referred to kites as "shiroshi," meaning "paper bird."

As for English, the kite was probably named after the bird, kite, with its long pointed wings and forked tail.

In 1749, two lads in Scotland performed the first recorded weather experiments using kites.

They lifted thermometers up in the air to test temperatures at various altitudes.

Three years later Benjamin Franklin used kites to demonstrate lightning was similar to static electricity.

Kites were not for kids.

Kites went to war in the Western world, too.

They were used as observation devices.

Kites lifted antennae up in the air for emergency radio transmitters.

In WWII, kites were flown for naval anti-aircraft gunners to use as target practice.

Throughout the world, kites played a role in history.

And remain a popular endeavor to this day.

From England and America to India and Japan.

Holland and Wales to Malaysia and Australia.

The Taliban banned kites in Afghanistan.

No more fun for you, they said.

Meanwhile, here in the land of freedom, kite festivals abound.

From the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. to San Francisco, Southern Oregon, and Virginia.

Santa Barbara and the state of Washington.

And Zilker Park in Austin.

If you’re a real kite freak, you can join AKA.

American Kitefliers Association, established in 1964 as a non-profit group to promote the fun and appreciation of kite flying.

Today they have 3,000 members in 25 countries.

Flabbergasting.

Hinckley’s Country Store carries kites.

Get one.

Pray for wind.

Give thanks for being free.

And go fly a kite.

That’s Mason.

Renee Walker is an author, poet, and real estate broker on the square.

This article has been read 93 times.
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