Time On The Line makes kite-flying an art form

Flying kites is something I immediately associate with carefree childhood afternoons spent at a nearby park with my father. On windy days, we would purchase cheap plastic kites and find the perfect spot. It was completely consuming and one of the few activities that is at once peaceful and requires focused precision.

Never once had I thought about flying as a kite as an adult. Until, that is, I spoke with Time on the Line founder and active kiter Penny Wearne.

Six years ago, while on vacation in South Padre Island, Texas, Penny attended a local kite flying festival and was intrigued. She got in touch with South Padre kite enthusiast and festival organizer Bill Doan who gave her a few lessons on outdoor sport kites, but the next year, the festival included an evening of indoor kite flying.

“We saw single line, dual line, and four line kites flying indoors, with no wind, no fans, and again all done to music,” Penny remembers. “It was mesmerizing.”

After additional lessons with Bill, Penny knew that she wanted to fly with other people.

“That was the start of the single line indoor kite flying addiction,” she says.

After returning home to southwestern Ontario, Penny did a demonstration at the Dorchester Community Centre in April of 2010. “A few people caught the bug and joined me at the gym, where I loaned them some kites and they learned how to fly.”

“After a few more people joined, we decided we needed a name for our little group. Since it takes only a few lessons to get started, but a lot of time practicing to really 'get it' we came up with the name 'Time On The Line.'”

As Time On The Line grew, so too did community outreach efforts, ranging from demonstrations at an elementary school in Hamilton to various senior centres in southern Ontario.

But the benefits of kiting run much deeper. Penny expands: “When you fly a kite, there is a link to the youthful activities of our past. It makes you look up, and in the looking up, you have to focus on the kite, on the sky, and on your hands. All else must leave your mind or you will lose your kite. So it’s almost a meditative activity, but with movement.”

The movement involved involves a combination of spatial awareness, balance, and requires work from specific lower body muscle groups, as well as arms. Combined with this workout is self-expression. After some practice, and when kite flying is combined with music, the flyer’s personality emerges.

“Eventually your movements flow with the music. So there is grace and rhythm now getting involved in the activity. Creativity creeps in as you begin to think of other ways to move with your kite to match the music.”

When asked what specifically she loves about kites, Penny had this to say.

“I feel like I can fly when I'm connected to my quad sport kite and the sky is blue
behind it and the wind is in my hair. But I also love watching people fly and seeing the expressions on their faces as they discover their own connection to that sail at the end of the line.

Sound appealing? Why not give it a try? Time On The Line is time well spent.

Time On The Line is a drop-in group of 16 active kiters, including two members from Illinois. The first International Indoor Kite Flying Day, which Penny organized, was held this July at the Dorchester Community Centre. The group meets every Friday from 9:30-11:30a.m. at a cost of $3.00 per person.

[Photos: Coutesy of Penny Wearne and Time On The Line]

Meg Pirie is a lifelong Londoner who works in communications. Check out her website at http://writeonfreelancing.com. She tweets brilliantly @meg_pirie.



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