The most romantic song lyrics ever written, mused an aging roue, are "The winds of March that make my heart a dancer."
No, corrected an 8-year-old, "The winds of March that make my kite a dancer," thus illustrating the changes that take place during the ages of man.
But the aging roue can learn, and the next thing you knew was he was off, a woman under one arm, a kite under the other, headed for a clear and windy spot. w
Most people fly kites with less romantic intent. It is the spring sport of childhood, though why March winds should demand to be fed with brilliant-colored kites and the winds of fall remain empty is a mystery. Nevertheless, it is traditional in March to go fly a kite.
If one kite looks lovely dancing on the horizon, think how glorious 10 will look. And think how cheap it would be to give a kiting party, with everyone going out for dutch-treat hamburgers afterward.
The shop at the Smithsonian's Air & Space Museum, 7th Street & Independence Avenue SW, has plastic kites -- bouncing baby bats, space demons -- for as little as $1.59, and The Kite Site, at 3101 M St. NW has light-wind kites shaped like butterflies for $1.95. String and tail extra.
If everyone supplied their own kites, they might be more extravagant. diamond-shaped rip-stop nylon kites range from $12 to $20 at the Air & Space Museum Shop, where the $12 red, yellow, or navy Air & Space logo kite is a big-seller. In similar style and price range, The Kite can help you send up a collection of unicorns, dragons, butterflies or doves.
And if there's a big spender in the crowd, you might get a chance to see the Air & Space Museum's long, long dragon kite ($110) or The Kite Site J-15 parafoil ($150).
As host or hostess, all you need to do is find the kites and the site -- a clear space large enough to maneuver the kites up and keep them there. It should be relatively free of trees -- which, as any reader of the Peanuts' cartoon strip knows, eat kites -- and, more important, clear of any electrical utility lines, which could put an end to both kite and kiter.
Nor should kites be flown in wet or stormy weather unless you are trying to repeat Benjamin Franklin's experiment (don't).
If you want kite company without the trouble of arranging it yourself, this Saturday the Smithsonian will hold its annual kite-flying competition on the Washington Monument grounds, beginning at 10 a.m. (rain date, Sunday, March 29). Kites entered in the competition must be homemade and capable of flying 100 feet for 1 minute.
The competition begins at 10 a.m., with registration from 10 a.m. to noon.