My cousins lived in a big house and in front of their house, there was a huge expanse of grass. The house was at the top of a short hill. You pulled off the main road and drove counter clockwise around the circle, the long way to the houses. There were six houses. Three have been knocked down. They are too big for anybody to live in anymore.
Everyone drove counterclockwise, the long way around. Why counterclockwise? I don’t know. It’s the way horses and dogs and people and cars run in a race. It is the opposite of how time runs around the circle of a watch, but it’s how the cars drive around the Circle.
We called it the Circle. My mom grew up there and so did many of my cousins. I spent a lot of time at the Circle. We kicked balls around the field and threw baseballs in long arcs, cousin to cousin and brother to brother. We explored the little patch of woods along the western edge of the hill, running through the brambles and trees with wooden swords made from broomsticks and shields made from garbage can lids. We swung from the sturdy vine hidden in the trees. We took the shortcut through the Pig Path to the Minute Market to buy baseball cards.
One late summer day, there was a lot of wind. We had been flying kites all week, and the weather was perfect on this day. A storm was coming in, but it was coming slow. We had found spools of kite string like fishing reels at a local store and we stocked up on string and cheap kites. The reels were great for controlling our kites. The wind was strong and gradually getting stronger. My kite took off. It kept going higher and the sky darkened. My string depleted as the kite ascended. The wind pulled the string faster and faster as the wind picked up and the kite flew higher. It was a tiny speck high in the air. I could hardly see it but I could feel it tug and turn when I held the line taut. It pulled and pulled and I gripped the handle tightly. I reeled it in slightly sometimes to see if I could still control it. Suddenly the string ran out and the pressure ceased. The kite rose and bobbed, a little dot in the darkening sky. We tried to keep our eyes on it but it was getting dark as the sun set and the storm moved in. Someone called us inside. We beat the rain and lightning and watched the storm from the giant wraparound porch.
I wonder about that kite– where did it go after it got caught in the storm? Where did it land once it descended? How long did it stay aloft? I wonder if maybe it’s still up there somewhere, in some form, maybe just a piece of what it used to be, long broken and no longer a kite but something of what it was when I flew it way back when.