A child’s kite dipped and soared, perhaps 100 feet in the air at the limit of its slender cord. A small girl, seated on the sand, nursed the handle of the cord. She was relaxed, even meditative, as the delicate toy rode the high wind, its red and green triangles radiant against the blue patches of sky. Storm clouds were everywhere.
The day before, gales swept in from the west, bringing heavy rain. White-topped breakers quarrelled in the shallows. Red flags were flying. The storms had almost destroyed a sandcastle built by the child’s father. Its relics remained and that is where the little family rested to fly the kite. We photographed this proud ruin.
Before the storm broke, the family paddled in the shallows, the grandfather, in his plastic mackintosh, his trousers rolled to his knees. The September water did not chill.
I wrote longingly of the sea a year ago, of a golden, sunlit headland in South Devon, part of the family legend. Calm sea. A symbol of eternity. Now we were in the presence of tumult. Perhaps this was a symbol of our passage through time now.
It was exciting, energising. And beautiful.
The small girl’s father had spent hours trying to make the kite fly. In the violent gusts it leapt up, dipped – and spiralled to the earth. Over and over again. ‘Have a go Llew’, he said. Down it plunged again.
But with patience and experiment the father continued to work on it, adapting his control, until the kite soared aloft, above the tumult, and danced in the air currents.
Above the storm, peace and grace.
The child was linked to it through the slender cord of the kite. So was the family.