Last weekend, my husband and I headed to the National Mall, overdressed in multiple layers because we’ve been used to a bitter cold wind even on sun-shiny days. Fortunately, we were blessed with the real spring weather and ended up unlayering in a short amount of time. It wasn’t shorts and t-shirt weather, but it was still very nice. And how fortunate because Saturday was also The Blossom Kite Festival, an annual tradition in Washington DC, and we didn’t want to miss it.
We approached the Washington Monument to find the hillside covered with people – babies in strollers, toddlers begging to hold the kites that their parents were desperately trying to get up into the air, older kids proudly holding their kite strings, eyes aimed up at the cloudy blue sky, as well as the parents and grandparents of them all. And then there were those of us sans children – some just taking photos like my husband and myself and others flying stunt kites or huge monstrosities that could rise to amazing heights on the least amount of breeze. Unfortunately, the morning was more breezy than windy. Though many kite flyers did get their kites in the air, they had to be patient. When the wind came, it came steady for about 5 or 10 minutes, then it decided to hold back and kites lagged in the air, not falling but not really wanting to stay in place either. Then, complete calm. Almost every single kite fell out of the air and the couple that did remain were so high that they were catching a breeze that none of us could feel.
Though some children were upset and demanding that their parents fix the problem (it is rather funny to watch a father running with a princess kite that just refuses to take flight), most were happy to run in circles with their kites following closely behind. Smart families camped out on blankets and broke out their picnic lunches and didn’t really care that a break was taking place. There would always be more wind later, right?
We started to walk down the length of the Mall. I had it in my head to eat at the Mitsitam Cafe at the Museum of the American Indian (some of the best food in town). As we passed the Smithsonian Castle, we noticed the American Flag perking up. Those children who had given up started to come back to life and soon, kites were once again filling the sky. The princesses were joined by butterflies, ladybugs, and parrots. Ironically, many of these were found near the Natural History Museum; a kite sale perhaps? Then we found many airplanes, dragons, and flying superheroes close to the Air and Space Museum. I have a feeling that the Smithsonian makes a lot of money on a good kite flying day.
As beautiful as all the kites were, the amount of people makes for a dusty day. My best pictures come from a couple of days earlier when I encountered a DC Native flying kites with his girls and their friends. He told me that his dad used to bring him out every spring to fly kites in front of the US Capitol. It’s a memory that he wanted to repeat for his own daughters. I think he succeeded. The girls were struggling to get their kites in the air, but they weren’t giving up. And then, when the wind picked up just right, success! What a perfect way to teach kids to be persistent, to be patient, and to enjoy the moment. Makes me feel like going out and flying my own kite today.