In the middle of a beautiful day, I was feeling lost, as if the world was crashing in on me. I didn’t know which way to go, except to head out to the countryside. On days like this I love to find a place where silence rules, where the wind in the tall 1)pine trees sounds like ocean waves crashing along some deserted beach I’ve walked along in my memory.
At first I headed to the city park. Not very countryside-like, but close enough to begin my journey inward. I went to the spot where I used to take my kids—when I still had kids. That might give you an idea of what my 2)wretched day was all about: My kids grew up and I didn’t.
After getting my fill of moms and dads running, laughing, and swinging their time away together with their kids, I headed out to a nearby state park. Here ducks and 3)cranes, rabbits and deer, all 4)clamor for your attention, and replace the pain of the day with awe and wonder. Here, with the 5)prolonging of winter and the 6)yearning for spring, life, as we humans know it, stands still. Here birds fly whenever they want, wherever they want. The snow, 7)remnant of colder days, still 8)clings on to the ground. The ground is soft and 9)soggy, giving hope to the grass that eagerly waits beneath, that very soon it will rise awake from its 10)slumber, and will 11)carpet once again the hills and pathways of the park, for residents and visitors alike.
I sat alone in my car, listening to songs that brought back memories…Memories of the days when I was “Daddy”, and of challenging 12)dares to “Walk across the 13)creek on this log like me, Dad!”
It was nearly spring, and the child in us all heads for the 14)attic to dust off the old kite, which would take us higher every year. On one end of its string glorious colors float like rainbows; on the other end—grown-up kids swear that they “just want to get it flying!” “You can take over in a minute, sweetheart.”
There I sat—with all my troubles and 15)woes, much too sensitive to life to begin with—discovering how life goes on for everyone else, even as mine seemed to stop for a while.
Just then I saw a man, whose problems appeared bigger than mine. He looked to be in his seventies and, although careful with his steps, quite 16)spry for his age. He stood near the edge of the road, holding a kite 17)spindle in his hands.
Seemingly lost in thought, he stared skyward. I stretched my neck to see how successful he had been in reaching the clouds. Following his string with my eyes, I almost lost sight of the other end. Could he possibly have sailed his wind-driven dream 18)chariot to the very edge where the blue skies met the blackness of the earth?
No, not quite. His string ended just beyond a tall tree, floating across two others, 19)nestling the kite atop of what seemed to be the highest branch of the tallest tree in the park. I 20)drew nearer and, without speaking a word, stood beside the man, gazing in astonishment at this accomplishment.
There for all the world to see, was his grandson’s kite! The kite was a 21)replica of a beautiful 22)Bald Eagle, its wings spread wide open. As the wind rushed through the treetops, making the plastic wings 23)flutter and 24)flap, it looked so real…
Alas, Grandpa had only one solution for his problem, and it was to cut the string. His grandson seemed to believe that Grandpa could solve any problem; perhaps even climb up and get it.
“You wanted it to fly as high as it could, Billy. Didn’t you?”
“Yes, Grandpa, but I wanted to keep it forever.”
“There just comes a time when the only thing you can do is to cut the string and let it go. Perhaps by doing that, when it 25)soars like real eagles do, it will come back to us.” Grandpa said.
I watched how the old man cut the string, releasing the kite, as Billy’s dream-on-wings 26)snapped back, settling gently into its new position high atop the 27)barren tree.
As the two walked away, I looked to the sky. There I saw my answer, too. Tears began to run down my cheek, and with a big sigh I prayed...
“Today I have to cut the final strings that kept my two boys within my reach. I have taught them to fly like eagles, though I wanted to keep them forever. Maybe by doing this, when it’s their time to soar like real eagles do, one day they would come back to me.”
Life’s best lessons are learned by living.
Keith, Evan, you are Eagles now! Fly!