March is a tough month sometimes. I often associate it with failed
elementary school art projects of cotton-ball lambs and paper plate-maned
lions that never really seemed to look like the animals they were meant to
be. It’s hard of another reason though, too.
When I was little, in the windy, not-quite-spring month of March, my
grandma would find one of her kites in the attic and bring it downstairs
for us to have a go with it. There were only two or three kites—I
think—and the ones I remember were all the diamond ones, with the cross of
thin bamboo or balsam wood stretching out the corners tautly. Each kite
had a tail, too, to be sure, made of scraps of fabric she had pulled out of
her storage in the sewing room, for nothing could go to waste. The bits
never matched, but the tail was always long.
With the kite, tail, and spool of string—and a jacket on, of course, and
depending on the temperature, a hat, too, if you please—and off we’d go
past her perennials’ bed, looking somber after winter. We’d bypass the
lilac bushes taller than both of us, past the apple trees towards the
oldest tree I thought I’d ever seen in person which grew past the end of
the truck patch. Not as far as the tree though—that’d be silly with a
kite. No, just to the swatch of grass before it that ran down towards the
start of the creek behind their house. Open space, a bit of a hill to use
to catch a wind—that was enough to make her happy. And if she was happy,
she made sure you were, too.