This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Cogswell’s Grant, a colonial era farmhouse formerly owned by folk art collectors Bertram and Nina Fletcher Little. Learn more about the house and its collection of art here. The setting is beautiful; the home sits atop a hill with expansive views of salt marshes in Essex, MA.
I ended up at the property not to admire the inside of the farmhouse, but to fly a kite. On hand were members of Kites Over New England, some of whom helped my children build their own kite from scratch. The rolling hills quickly became packed with children and adults, doing their best to walk or run backwards with ease (I almost knocked over a newborn in a carriage). My daughter took to the event almost instantly, and the vision of her running and weaving through bold beautiful kites, against a bright blue April sky is something I will likely never forget.
Flying a kite is an image that is strongly associated with childhood. One of my first memories is of a beloved McDonald’s hamburgler kite gone wild, wrapping itself in a giant oak tree in my front yard. My brother collected kites, always hanging them carefully on his bedroom wall. In later years they were replaced with posters of Nomar Garciaparra and other sports heroes, but when I imagine our home and his room, it will forever be kites. Mary Poppins sings of flying kites, Leonardo da Vinci attached himself to them, and who can forget Benjamin Franklin flying a kite into a lighting bolt? Around the world, from places like Afghanistan to Japan, kites have had historical and cultural significance for thousands of years.
So perhaps it is no wonder that when I laid back on that grassy hill in Essex, I felt a spark of excitement watching the sky. When we returned home, my daughter was desperate to fly her kite again. The wind conditions were not right, and the backyard seemed too small for an adequate running start, so the kite pathetically dragged behind her—bumping along the grass and tangling in its own line. “We will take it to beach,” I assured her as she carefully rolled the string back into place. “Then it will fly again.”
Want to fly a kite? Check out some of the kite-flying events in May here.