This past weekend I had the fabulous opportunity to go to Ocean Shores with a group of girlfriends. The weather was phenomenal, and we were lucky enough to have been there during a kite festival. Seeing all of the different kites soaring, fluttering, and floating all around me made me feel like I was in an undersea wonderland. It's not difficult to experience joy when looking at these bright jewels floating in midair.
An extra special treat was getting to see Ray Bethell, a multiple time World Champion in Kite flying. Ray's signature style is flying three kites simultaneously in formation (and he also holds the world record for flying 39 at once). I had never heard of Ray, or seen anyone fly multiple kites before. I was mesmerized, not just by the kites, but by the man's movements and his concentration. After Ray finished a session, I went over to talk with him. What a delightful person! Through that conversation, and then after checking out his website, I learned that Ray, now somewhere in his 80's, didn't start flying kites until 1981. I also learned that he has experienced several hardships in his life, and hasn't let them overtake his spirit. When he was in his 60's, Ray was struck by a rare virus that left him deaf overnight. Later, his wife developed alzheimer's disease, which slowly took her life. Ray says, "How does a person deal with the unfairness of life? The only way you can do it is to face it head on... it's unchangeable, you have to learn to deal with it." These are wise words that I'm starting to learn.
Here is a photo that I took of Ray with his three kites in action. You can learn more about Ray and see video clips of him in action on his website. I highly recommend this video interview, if you have 8 minutes to spare.