Sunday, August 5, 2012

24-Hour Kite Stores

I used to do this little social test with new acquaintances to feel out their outlook on life. After I'd known someone a while, or been on a few dates with a guy, I'd tell them I always wanted to open an inner city 24-hour kite store. So that no matter what the time of day, or whatever the income level, people could get a kite and fly it if the wind picked up. Didn't matter if it was in a city park, a ghetto rooftop, or behind kids' bikes as they raced under the streetlights making their own wind. To me, kites mean joy. They are time outside, attention to nature, and simple bliss. I think the world needs more 24-hour kite stores.

So I told this to people and their reaction told me more about them than any profile or conversation. Some people laughed, others raised their eyebrows, some changed the subject and some told me of their fear of heights. But most people had one of two reactions: a positive and supportive one or an instantly negative one. They either thought it was a beautiful and whimsical idea and asked me questions about how I would run it or they would instantly dismiss it as a horrible business decision and a stupid idea. Some people went out of their way to be nice about being negative, "Oh how adorable, but who in the inner city is going to pay for a kite? How could you afford rent? What about the crime rates, etc etc." and they would say this in honey tones just short of patting me on the head with their patronizing voice. Others acted tough and aloof, would cross their arms and then start asking, "So you'd get a big non-profit to sponsor it right? Public outreach and community events and all?" And even in their tough-guy stance they were actually interested and talking about possibilities. Just because someone is acting nice doesn't mean they are, same goes for acting tough.

There are people who live their life as a series of opportunities. They hear new things, new ideas, and they find a way to support and encourage the things they see as good and valuable. If they find something negative or a waste of energy they avoid it and forget about it. Other people choose to live in fear, or on the defensive side of those who they disagree with. They put less energy into encouraging the things they support and more energy into tearing down the things that threaten them. I choose to be the positive type of person. It's why you will never see me write something negative about another person on this blog. I might rail against factory farms or an industry, but you won't see me tear apart a person. I think the only reason I have been successful at this farm (a measured success but I'm still here) is because I do not let negative ideas or people into my life. It's a protection of my spirit and a recipe for happiness. And anyone, at anytime, can decide to be a more positive and encouraging person. Every minute is another chance to turn it all around.

Spend your time with people who fly kites, either metaphorically or literally. You're better off.


Blogger Luann said...

yay for you, what a positive,uplifting attitude toward life./ it.

August 5, 2012 at 12:50 PM  
Blogger Luann said...

beautiful uplifting 'tude towards life, thankyou for the reminder.

August 5, 2012 at 12:51 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I'm totally hearing the song from Mary Poppins now! You keep on keepin' on, Jenna. I think your ideas are rich and beautiful and delightful. Whether or not they're practical you'll find out as you go, but you'll not have to feel the pain of regret for not following your dreams!

August 5, 2012 at 1:09 PM  
Anonymous Patsy from Illinois said...

When my nephew was young, at Christmastime, I would get a big box and fill it with all kinds of things I thought he would like. He would be so excited to get this box of lots of little cheap things. One year, he opened the box and as he was looking thru it, he pulled out a kite and the look on his face was pricesless. It lit up the room.

Your story made me think of that Christmas. Thanks Jenna.

August 5, 2012 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I think a 24 hour kite store sounds rad!

August 5, 2012 at 1:35 PM  
Blogger Woman Seeking Center said...

Profoundly true. Beautifully written as always...

Life is populated with adventurers and dreamers amid worriers and naysayers. On each hilltop and valley dwell soul lifters and defeatists. We choose both our personal outlook and our companions. We decide who we draw close, who influences our days, our hearts.

It's an act of decision (and sometimes a defiance of convention) to walk past - or away from - kite crushers. To be happy is oddly suspect lol. Drama, crisis, negativity are (imho) far too commonly the 'norm'.

You identify well and true the fact that each person is accountable for not only what they put out into the world in action & attitude but also for what actions & attitudes they invite/allow within their circle.

Walking past ~ no harm spoken, but no invitation extended to loadstone outlooks ~ is a wonderful skill and a gift to the bouyant heart.....


August 5, 2012 at 1:47 PM  
Blogger Melina said...

Do you know they use kites in some countries to fly over the fields before they plant them. The kites scare away the mice and are supposed to be a tradition for the children to take part in. I love kites.

August 5, 2012 at 2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Jenna, you've done it again. Your thoughts translated are such an honest gift and truly treasures to be enjoyed and employed repeatedly as needed or desired thank you yet again. Cindy. NH

August 5, 2012 at 3:10 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

Love this. I tend to be a positive person and try to be as supportive as I can to my friends and family - even if I do judge their ideas and schemes to be possible failures. So many people have proven me incorrect when I have judged them harshly. I like that - to be proven wrong about such things. I like it when people succeed with unorthodox ideas and projects.

I tend to be pretty unorthodox and out of the box myself, so I get it. I've been having trouble with certain people in my life being horribly negative or defensive (or offensive) about things I'm doing. In my twenties, I could ignore it easily and continue on. In my thirties, I'm making bigger (I guess relatively more important)life decisions and there is more at stake. However, I'm finding these negative ideas and comments are seeping into my own thoughts. I'm working on weeding out the people who do this often or finding a new way of dealing with them. It's a very difficult thing. I had these skills at some point.

Thanks for posting this and if you ever do open a kite store, I'll buy one!;)

August 5, 2012 at 3:59 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Jason and my first date was to go fly a kite in the midnight sun of the arctic. I knew I'd marry him in that moment. He also tells the story of showing up at a girl's house in college to go shopping. She thought he was coming in his car (he didn't own a car) but instead found him at her door pulling a sled. She closed the door and he never saw her again, THANK GOD! I would have been planning my wedding :).

August 5, 2012 at 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Jo Griffith said...

Here's a story about kites...
I was a DJ at a radio station,and going through some messy relationship problems. I met this guy at a club guy the night before, we talked, and I didn't think more about it. Anyhow, I was on the air at the radio station and look out the window. Here was a kite, floating beautifully in the Texas breeze outside the window. I looked out the window and down to see this fellow on the other end of the string, waving at me.

We are celebrating our 23rd wedding anniversary today.

I believe in kites.

August 5, 2012 at 4:43 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

What can be better than a sky of kites, dipping and swaying, even crashes get giggles:)It is even in the Bible to avoid naysayers and I'm sure there are many examples we could pull from literature. A truth is a truth, you want to soar you can't hang out with those who would hold you down, due to their fear or ignorance. Fly gals, fly:)

Holly in Illinois

P.S. Patsy from Illinois and others who responded to Jenna posting my "plea" for help on my farm, contact me at Appreciate it!

August 5, 2012 at 5:03 PM  
Blogger sheila said...

I knew a guy that used to fly his kite with a fishing pole. Worked really well to reel in the line and not have to wind it all up by hand when the wind changed.

He also told me he got into flying kites when a girl friend dumped him by handing him a kite..... as in get lost, go fly a kite!

Kites are fun and make people smile. I look at a kite flying and always feel happy. Hot air ballons give me the same feeling, but kites are more in my price range.

August 5, 2012 at 7:00 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

I think the best thing a person can do is what you do - not allowing negativity into your life. Negative attitudes just drag you down and make you feel low. Who has time for that?

August 5, 2012 at 10:26 PM  
Blogger Terry Hartley said...

We have a kite on our back porch--ready to fly at a moment's notice should the wind decide to offer an opportunity. I love kites and enjoyed your story and the other ones shared here.

August 5, 2012 at 10:44 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...


Your words are AMAZING!!!

Blessings to you!!

August 6, 2012 at 7:48 AM  
Blogger bree said...

I agree. When I read on a web site that I used to read regularly, hateful things written there by the author, I was stunned. So stunned that I wrote the man an email asking him to reconsider his actions. He turned his lovely web site of writing and photos into a negative hateful place that I no longer wanted to visit. Clearly he lost it that day. He also lost a few readers and fans. Everyone makes mistakes I know, and when you do it's good to admit it, apologize and be humble. i admire your position on not posting negative personal comments on your blog. You have taken the high road.

August 6, 2012 at 8:01 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

Kate and Jo -what great stories! I miss the kite I had as a kid -45 foot red celophane Chinese dragon. It cast an enormous red shadow and was probably the coolest thing I've ever owned.

August 6, 2012 at 12:12 PM  
Anonymous rachel said...

yes! so with you, Jenna!

August 6, 2012 at 7:59 PM  

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