Monday, April 26, 2010

Death of a Flying Friend

Somewhere on the campus of Bethel University, there is a tree.

But this isn’t just any old tree. This is a tree like no other. It’s a tree that reaches to heights even unattainable to NASA. Amongst razor-sharp flakes of pine bark, its trunk is covered with broken lower branches that could slice a tomato without bruising the skin or squishing the insides. The ground around it is at a 45 degree angle, making it even more impossible to manage. This tree is a monster.

And my kite, the famous and reliable Mr. Wingsy, has been stuck in it for three weeks.

On a slightly windy day, I decided to take Mr. Wingsy out of a fly up on the tallest hill on campus.  There are a good amount of trees up there, even though a lot of the top of the hill is grassy.  Given how Mr. Wingsy has a humongous wingspan, I figured that he would be able to fly very nicely and well-manneredly above them.  And he did for a while. 

Mr. Wingsy was just screaming for more slack. “Come on, Shreds! Just let out a few more feet!” So I gave it to him. Little did he or I know what a riotous wind war was going on just fifty feet higher.  Even his unswerving, consistent design couldn’t handle the angry gusts coming at him left and right.  And he nosedived. 

“No biggie,” I though to myself, “I’m so good at getting kites out of trees!” So I tugged, and I pulled, and I gave slack, and I pulled again…a half hour went by…I was tired and sweaty from negotiating this kite out of the tree.  With one final burst of energy I pulled for the last time as the string snapped and sent me flailing down on my backside.


When I went to survey where Mr. Wingsy had been stuck, I could just make out the tip of his wing from miles up into the sky, at the exact top of the tree. No long sticks would reach to that altitude.  Climbing was not an option.

So, along with Christie and another friend, I stole the longest extendable ladder I could find in the Art department, trudged it up the hill (which, trust me, was a long walk), and laid it up against the trunk. Not even half way.  I was lucky enough to find an actual tree that had broken at the roots and hefted it, one handed, up the ladder as far as I could.  With great terror, I wrapped my leg around the rungs of the ladder and pushed the smaller tree above my head, and found that I was still about ten feet from the kite.  I was out of options.

This is probably why I haven’t posted in so long: the pain of the thought of poor Mr. Wingsy, stuck in that Goliath of a tree, possibly to never be flown again.

Just an hour before Mr. Wingsy’s fatal nosedive, Christie painted a picture of him, which is now in memoriam, entitled Death of a Flying Friend.  

Moment of silence, please. 


  1. Amazing tree!
    Sad story.
    Thanks for including me! (discreetly)

    I missed your blogs.
    Love you.

  2. I missed your blogs too. So sad about the kite...excuse me, 'Mr. Wingsy'. But, if Mr. Wingsy was to meet his demise, what better way to go than after a supreme battle with this lonely tree whose one goal in life was probably to unite forever with a free spirit like Mr. Wingsy. They can now be together forever. A beautiful story of beauty and the beast.

    Just one question: what the HELL were you thinking when you propped a ladder against this monster of a tree and climbed up it? You're making me CRAZY here!