Patrick Ward words, code, and music

A Persistent Struggle

Walking the dogs this evening, I noticed a particular tree along our path; a thin red maple, it’s bark smooth and gray with shallow fissures. A week ago, it’s leaves had turned a brilliant scarlet color, which stood out against the evergreens surrounding it. Now, however, all but a few leaves had scattered to the ground, which left it a barren silhouette against the deepening blue of the evening sky.

At it’s peak, about 40 feet up, I noticed something flapping in the wind. The dogs began to whimper and jump, straining to see what new creature was stirring so high. I had to hold them tighter as we approached the trunk of the tree.

A multi-colored kite was stuck in the naked twigs of the tree’s highest reach. It was a standard delta kite that looked like a large rainbow colored bat. It flapped violently in the wind, as if desperate to escape, but the tree was too strong for it. It’s wings were slightly tattered and the colors were beginning to fade. A thin line of string, about 3 feet in length, trailed from it’s tail.

It was obvious this kite had been there for awhile, but I had never noticed it. I wondered how long this kite had been there, hiding in the leaves of summer. Had it been months? Years? I wondered if the owner still thought of that kite, stranded in a red maple on the edge of a neighborhood swamp. When did they give up hope of ever retrieving their precious toy again?

As we walked by it, the dogs seemed mesmerized by it’s constant struggle. They didn’t jump at it like they would a squirrel, but simply gazed at it as if impressed by it’s constant battle.

It was getting darker now. The lamppost in front of the tree suddenly belched out a sodium yellow tint of light, which began to throw shadows across the tree’s darkening trunk. The kite looked more like an overgrown bat now, it’s colors slowly fading into the black of evening. Yet, it’s struggle was ever present, always flapping against an immovable object.

The dogs lost interest after awhile and so we started on the path home. As we walked away from the tree, I could hear, every once in a while, the gentle flutter of the kite, persistent in its struggle against a wooden cell.