Monday, May 22, 2006

Walking Forrest, and Kites without Tails

Billy Adams and I used to make kites from paper and balsa wood in Junior High. We lived a few doors away from each other, in the same mobile home park in Escondido. We would take our kites out into the field on the corner of East Valley Parkway and Citrus Avenue. It's not field anymore though. It's a shopping center.

We tried to make the smallest kites which could still fly. We created 5 to 7 inch kites which we sometimes could get to fly about 50 feet up in the air. We typically built traditional diamond shaped kites, and they needed tails. Without tails they would spin around, and quickly dive head first into the ground, at which point we would need to begin building another kite. But we wanted our kites to fly higher, so we had to make the tails as light as possible, while still creating enough drag to keep them upright.

Some guy named Daniel Bernoulli figured out that as the velocity of air passing around the kite increased, the air pressure decreased. When the pressure is decreased enough the kite goes up against the force of gravity. A kite is a type of airfoil, like a wing on an airplane. An airfoil is a surface which is designed to create lift when air passes over it.

Mr. Bernoulli wasn't really working with an airfoil though. He figured this out on a
  • chalkboard with math
  • back in 1738, so that makes him a pretty smart guy. Other smart people are still trying to figure out how it works today, but they are not sure how it works, they just know that it does. So I guess we trust our lives to Daniel Bernoulli when we get in an airplane, and look out at those skinny little wings as they lift the bird much bigger than a house into the air.

    Walking Forrest is like flying a kite without a tail.

    Not all kites have tails, but if Forrest was a kite, he would be a traditional diamond shaped kite which needs a tail. The purpose of the tail is to create drag below the towing point, and ensure stability. If the kite had no tail, it would spin in circles like some of the kites Billy Adams and I made in Junior High.

    When I walk Forrest he goes to the right, and the left, and he tries to run ahead, and then he stops, and goes behind me to smell something. He would run in the road in front of passing cars, if I did not keep him controlled with the leash. He is so excited to be out for a walk, that he runs every direction possible, and tries to discover every new thing in sight. He does have a long tail, but his tail doesn't help him go straight. Maybe it doesn't create enough drag below the towing point.

    I suppose people who enjoy having everything in control don't like walking dogs like Forrest. Control freaks would be quite mad at the end of the walk. Forrest would not want to go straight without constant coaxing. You most certainly have to carry bags to pick up after him, and although he moves much faster than Holly during the walk, he takes far longer to actually cover the distance.

    I am a lot like Forrest. I like adventure, and discovering new things. I don't like tours, because I always get in trouble for breaking the rules, or sneaking away from the tour group. I don't like monotony. I do like surprises, and mystery. I am not good to walk with a leash either I suppose.

    I don't even mind not understanding how that skinny little wing is able to hold the big fat airplane up in the sky. I wonder if control freaks are afraid of flying? Does it bother them that nobody really understands how the Bernoulli principle works?

    There seems to be something similar to the fear of flying, and the control freak's fear of not having a situation under his power. Being frustrated walking Forrest, and being afraid of flying are not terribly different from one another, they are both situations which lack control, and I imagine are both based in fear.

    My Christian life will be an adventure, not a list of dos and don'ts established to keep me in line. I want to examine the fringes of humanity, and get to know the people others are afraid of. The Christians I know are afraid of Witches. I live in town with quite a few Witches. So, like Forrest I will run around and meet them, and make friends with them, because I figure they are regular people with regular lives, and if they do something a bit irregular, I would like to know why.

    In my little mind I dream that if I run around long enough, the Bernoulli effect will take place, and a miracle will happen - I will fly. Maybe it's not real flying, but flying high on life, and experiencing God doing His stuff as I find ways to simply love people - even people others are afraid of. No, especially people others are afraid of.

    I did not realize it, but there was a control freak trying to walk me on a short leash, and so he yanked real hard without warning me first. I don't wear the collar they attached that leash to anymore. They can go and find someone else's collar to yank.


    g13 said...

    here's to forrest and here's to you!

    Pastor Phil said...

    Yeah, I don't think that poor boy was made for collars. I don't think too many of us were.