Since I moved here, some ten years ago, I never saw a kite in the sky. Everything is against it: there is no space on the ground, the number of large extensions of grass is extremely limited; there is no space above our heads, the century-old buildings dominate the horizon; and above all there is no one to fly a kite, as kids spend the whole day at school. I am certain that breaking that last condition would be enough to see one from time to time, as where there is a kid, there is a way.

There is one thing that is not in short supply though. Kites. For my constant amazement, there is a thriving Kite Shop not far from the open market. It is there since I moved in, and nothing indicates it has any problems selling the stuff. It sells the craziest models, kites attached to carts for windsurfing on the beach, huge Chinese-looking butterflies. But it also has on display many of the more ordinary kinds, the ones I would expect to be flown by kids.

I wonder what kind of dreamer would make such a business work. Nothing, really nothing, indicates that people around here would buy the stuff. If anyone buys them, the kites either are hidden in some basement or being used elsewhere.

Until one day I read a citation from a great statesman, a man who led his people in quite hopeless times. It reads “Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it”. At the end, keeping a shop like this, against all odds and winds, is an act of hope. The mere existence of this shop is a reminder that hope is a necessary element to accomplish whatever in life we want.

Every time I pass in front of it, I spare a thought of how desolate would the neighborhood be without it. And the wish that every neighborhood had its own kite shop crosses my mind.

Actually, this is a nice New Year thought to catch flying around. Best wishes for 2010!

Post a Comment