The kite that flew out of sight

Crude and unlovely, that doubled newspaper stretched over a windmill cross. Most of my money had gone into 5,000 feet of heavy bricklayer's string. Kneeling in the sheer green of spring wheat, its young blades pressed into the wind's print, I pitched brace lines with 10-year-old skill to balance the kite straight against the gale, and watched it lift in a rush, its cotton rag tail a 30-foot pendulum. Bucking and recovering to each turn of the spool, it climbed over our boundary fence, the power lines, and highway, sucked toward the white fluff and swirl overhead. Though nervous as it dwindled fingernail small, I gave up still more string in a craving for height and stared first at a speck hung higher than vultures, then at nothing but the line's great vanishing arc! At last I felt tethered to the wind. Eerie this absence, and if I could reel in now, what would ride down from the vacant sky? I was half an hour winding line taut as fence wires, hauling against a might wild to tear away its prize, to hurl it on cold currents the hundred miles to Ohio, trailing a tribute of broken string.

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