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I’m not really an unusual kite. All kites have a basic need to fly. I guess that’s why it was so hard to hang on a nail beside the furnace all winter. “Hey man, this isn’t what I was made for,” I’d say to the fur­nace, as much as to anyone. “I need to fly. I have to fly. Kites were made for skies, not walls.”

I endured those wall-hanging months because I kept thinking of those flying days to come. I could picture the wide open spaces of blue. I could feel the gentle lift of the wind. I could almost smell free­dom. “Man, that’ll be the life,” I’d say to the furnace, as much as to anyone. “No more basement blues for me. Fulfillment. Fun. Soaring. Gliding. Drifting. Living.”

Spring is here now. The breezes are billowing and the blue skies are opened to me. I’m doing what kites are meant to do — soaring, drifting and gliding. I should be starting to live now. My spirits should be float­ing with me.

But they aren’t.

It’s the string. I’ve decided that my problem is all wrapped up in the string. Sure, I can glide 500 feet above it all, looking down on yards and trees and houses. But I can only go so far; the string holds me back. My spirit urges. ‘Go higher, go higher.” But the string is always there.

I look down on yards and trees and houses, but they’re always the same. My spirit whispers. ‘Try new yards and trees and houses.” But the string is always there.

There’s so much I haven’t seen yet. My world is so small. I’ve been so sheltered. Just the same basement walls, the same old furnace. The same old houses and yards and trees. I think a kite needs the experi­ences of new places, new skies, new climates. A kite needs to know how to fly higher and try new tricks. But the string is always there.

I mean, how much can a kite do with a string tied to its tail and someone holding on to the other end? How creative can a kite be when its operator just stands on the ground holding the string with both hands. How much of a kite am I when someone is always there to di­rect me right or left or pull me in? How can I ever develop? How can I experience fulfillment when I’m tied to a string?

“What I need is freedom,” I said one day, as much to the furnace as to anyone. “I need to be my own kite, to do my own thing. Then I would really shine. Then I’d learn to feel, experience, grow. Strings are stifling.” I added in disgust.

I could simply never be a mature, knowledgeable kite until I could call my own shots. When I could see beyond my own house and yard and trees, then I could be more under­standing of what other kites go through. When I could feel new heights of the skies, I would be wiser as to the ways of the atmosphere. When I could make up my own mind about how high and where I flew, I’d be able to handle other de­cisions in life. “It would all be very enlarging for me as a kite,” I said to the furnace as much as to anyone.

And then my big chance came. The call of the skies seemed strong­er to me that day. So did the wind. The string was there as usual, guid­ing me first to the left, then to the right, up over the trees, the house and the yard. The string kept com­ing, a little at a time, whenever I needed it. That’s the way it usually worked.

That was one thing about the string that I did appreciate, in spite of all my hassles with it. It did allow me to fly. It did get me up in the air. There was a time when I could hardly get off the ground. I needed all the help I could get. The string was there. There was a time when I didn’t know direction or control. I needed the string then, too. There was a time when the empty skies looked big and frightening. The string gave me security. There was a time when I didn’t know how to land, but the string always guided me gently in. The string had kept me from lots of tragedies, I conced­ed.

But, I was a kite of experience now. The skies were no longer threaten­ing to me. I felt confident. I knew control and direction. Security wasn’t my need anymore. It was time to cut loose.

I was gliding about 500 feet up. The big gust caught me by surprise I pulled with all my might. For one brief moment I experienced free­dom.

I don’t remember anything after that.

Anyone know how to fix a broken kite?