Free Kites

There’s a shack in the middle of a field. On the roof there’s a sign that reads, “Free Kites.”

What’s the catch?” someone asks, almost by the minute.

“No catch,” I say. Pick any kite you like. The kite of your dreams. Then fly it. You’re welcome to try.

Most wander inside and only gape at the kites hanging from the beams.

“You’re welcome to try, anytime,” I say.

Some grow bored and leave.

A few do select a kite, the kite of their dreams, and take it out for a flight. They let out the string and run, and if the wind is right, their kites are pulled swiftly to the sky. Then they stop, and watch. They don’t correct their course, they don’t heed the winds, and inevitably, the kite plows straight into the ground.

I have found they generally do not pick up their kites again. Instead, they gather around and reminisce with joy about how they once flew, sometimes stopping to watch that one kite still flying high above them, the kite they dream is utterly and impossibly out of their reach.

Whose kite is it? That kite could be anyone’s.

You’re still welcome to try.

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