Weather in the Foothills

“Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Let’s go fly a kite!”

~ Composed by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman
for Walt Disney’s “Mary Poppins”

On Sunday, the weather was perfect. The skies were clear and the air freshened by a constant, but gentle, breeze. At a mild 80 degrees, the temperature added to the day’s perfection. Such a rare day holds endless possibilities as how to best enjoy it. Just opening a window and allowing it to come inside may be enough. The catalyst for my memories was listening to Broadway Hits on Sirius Radio. Tunes from “Mary Poppins” pulled me back to the ’60s. With the wonder of a child, I was entranced as Bert (Dick Van Dyke) and the Banks family flew kites from atop a hillside, bidding farewell to Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews). Do children still fly kites?
The earliest known kites date back more than 2,000 years. Details are lost in time, but historians believe the kite came from Shandong, China. A likely legend tells of a windy day and a Chinese rice farmer tying a string to his hat to keep it from blowing away. Perhaps from alongside the rice paddy his children were watching his struggle against the wind. With a giggle, an idea came to mind, a new plaything … a kite. Just a thought.
The Santa Ana winds in La Crescenta don’t exactly make for prime kite-flying conditions. Wind that is either too strong or too light makes flying difficult. Between five and 25 mph is considered ideal. If you are unsure as to the wind speed, check the trees and bushes. Look for a slight rustling or movement of foliage. Flying becomes a bit more challenging for a novice when the wind velocity increases. Skilled flyers can do more than just hold on; they can make a kite dance across the sky by pulling in and letting out the line. Finding the right location is not always easy in urban or even suburban areas where roads, buildings and power and telephone lines are present. Never attempt to fly when a storm is present. Benjamin Franklin was an exception with his historical experiment. He was lucky to live to tell his story! Flying space needs to be clear and open. Large fields and parks (with few trees) are ideal. A great deal of running is necessary, so the more room you have to slowly release the kite string and allow for it ascend into the sky the better. Height combined with sustainability is the goal.
Is kite flying in La Crescenta possible? Absolutely! Back in the ’60s (the 1960s!), come spring and summer paper and plastic kites were sold almost everywhere. With the determination of a child and strips of white sheets (ask mom first) for a tail, kites were assembled. How many actually went “soaring up through the atmosphere?” Does it really matter? The fun and memories are enough.*
And the heat returns … just in time for the 4th of July. Coastal fog stayed home for the holiday allowing inland area temperatures to soar. Lingering into the evening, the temperatures and clear skies made viewing fireworks ideal. Besides record-breaking heat, the seasonal monsoonal flow returns. Temperatures reaching 100 degrees with increased humidity and possible showers and thunderstorms come together for the weather forecast. Next week, a little cooler … maybe.
*Best Kite Flying Location
– Deukmejian Park
Attn. Robin: An idea for CV Weekly Finest?