Joy in the depths of winter at the Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival
I can't take credit for any of the kites at the Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival, but I did walk away with my fair share of smiles. The annual winter kite festival out on the frozen lake coincided with the Art Shanty Projects, which means there were a lot of people out there. Clouds gave way to blue skies in the afternoon.
As we waited patiently for a parking spot, we looked on the lake activity with anticipation. But nothing compared to the joy we finally felt when we stepped out on the ice with all the other crazy, dedicated, adventurous Minnesotans who were there for the same reason: to experience something fun and whimsical, to be carefree, to run around like the lake was our own backyard, to smile at one another, to feel safe, to feel camaraderie with strangers, to enjoy a winter day.
I don't know a lot about the kite festival, but from what I can tell it's a loosely organized event. Most people were out there with families—children, adults, teenagers alike—and kites ranged from elaborate, expensive, majestic kites to small, traditional, vinyl kites. Nothing about it felt official, but I don't suspect that was the goal anyway. If you had a kite, you're welcome to come join other kites and take your ride in the sky. People duck and dove around one another with their strings and cameras and smartphones. Dogs wagged their tails. Kites went up and down. Laughs and smiles were in every corner.
If not walking among the kites, people were experiencing the adjacent shanties, part of the Art Shanty Projects, and the live performances going on on the ice throughout the day.
I feel so fortunate to live in a place that values art and play. Experimentation, the outdoors, and shared experiences are the sauce of our existence, it seems. Days like these are relieving. There is no competition, no money making, no pitch, no market, no seller or buyer. I am reminded of all the things in life there are to love and that sometimes you have to do a thing for the joy of it.