When I was a child, I lived in a small town called Wick in the north of Scotland. Wick is built around a sea bay and harbour and has a population of around 8,000 people. It’s a nice wee place… miles from where I live now, but a nice place.
I lived in a house on the North side of town, which overlooked the harbour and bay. Our garden was situated on the top of a 30 – 40ft cliff and we had great views of the town, the bay and the sky from where we were.
As our house was South facing the sun rose in the morning on the left of our view, went right across the sky and set in the evening on the right of our view.
I remember I used to lie out on the grass after I’d been playing and it got dark and I’d look up and watch the seemingly infinite amount of stars up in the sky. There was no light pollution and you could see millions of stars it was incredible. Wick really was an amazing place to grow up as a child.(See and ‘Like’ Alan Taylor Images Facebook page here)
Being in Scotland, the weather there could range from sunshine one day to a howling gale and rain the next. In Autumn and Winter the conditions could be horrible: cold, wet and windy one day, and sunny the next. Often we’d walk home from school and get totally soaked. Sometimes it was so bad that when you walked home from school and you got soaked you could never be sure if it was just rain, or salty spray from the sea. The sea would be whipped up into a monster and waves would crash into the bay and spray all over the town.
I liked all seasons up there. Winter because at night it would be cold and the sky would be clear enough to see the never-ending number of stars, Spring because the weather was getting nicer and the skies in day time were clear. And Summer because it was nice and sunny and warm.
But my favourite time of the year was Autumn. I liked how the winds picked up and the sea got angry; how the view would change, and the sea would seem to beat up the rocks and harbour.
I’d sit for hours sometimes in the safety and warmth of our home, watching the sea roll in crashing against the lighthouse and the piers. The sheer strength and power of the waves was amazing.
When it was windy I liked to go out in my garden and hold my jacket up over my head. Let the wind push me and get me to take off sometimes. When we’re children, time isn’t so pressured and I was free to do what I wanted. I was left to do activities I enjoyed, and I was encouraged to be creative and have fun.
One of my favourite things to do was fly a kite. I was fortunate in that my parents bought me plenty of toys, and kites were just one of the little things that made my life more fun.
I remember one September when it was windy, going out into the garden and spending hours with my kite. Flying it high up in the sky, looking up at it and, most of the time, being in total control of it. Making it twist and turn, do triple turns and stunts and more often than not crashing it before sending it up to fly again. Flying my kite made me feel free. Free to do what I wanted for as long as the wind was there and as long as I was having fun.
One day (when I was about seven), I was having so much fun flying my kite that I even forgot to go to the toilet and managed to pee myself with the kite still in the sky! I learned to put the kite down when I needed to go in the future! 😉
So what’s in flying a kite that makes me (and other kite flyers) so happy?
Well first off, when you fly a kite, you have to look up. Have you ever noticed how depressed people walk, or how tired people run? They look down to the ground, and shrivel into themselves. Happy people and people who are full of energy look up and around themselves, they portray confidence and happiness. Kite flying gets you outdoors and forces you to look up. Looking up is a positive movement and our brains understands it as this.
Secondly, you have to be outside to fly a kite. When you’re outside on a windy day, the wind has the ability to the blow the cobwebs away and make you feel great. Being outdoors sight seeing, exercising or walking can do you the world of good. Fresh air can help you to step away from everything and refocus naturally on what’s important in life. Being outdoors can help reduce stresses and tensions, and can increase your exposure to sunlight and vitamin D. It can also help weight loss as when people are outdoors they tend to want to move about, leading to increased activity levels and calories burned.
Thirdly, flying a kite is relaxing and helps to develop creative thinking and concentration. Flying a kite can help you to be relaxed, calm and stress free. When you look at your kite flying in the vast clear windy sky, you can let your worries disappear and you can concentrate on just a few things – the kite, making the kite do stunts and keeping it up in the sky.
Flying a kite, or even thinking about flying a kite – seeing it up there in the sky can relax you and take your mind off the stresses of the day. So next time when you take some time out to relax, why don’t you think about flying a kite. Imagine it up there in the sky with you controlling it’s every move.
There’s an old saying in China – “those who fly a kite can have a long life.” It means that kite flying on a regular basis can lead to longevity. There’s also the thought that being in control of a kite, is like being in control of your life, take time out to fly your kite and you’ll fly in life.
So perhaps it’s about time I got my kite out again and started flying it some more. 🙂
And perhaps you could invest in one too?
Here’s the type of kite I’d recommend:
I have the 1.3 version.
Now I just need to find some good places to fly a kite in Glasgow… any suggestions?!
PS: a few of the photos above are courtesy of my brother who still lives in Wick – thanks Ewen! 🙂