Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Transforming Tent Village at Lake St. Clair

The Transforming Tent Village at Lake St. Clair  

            I’m out walking at St. Clair Lake Metro Park; it's a perfect day, weather-wise, warm without being hot, cool without being cold, breezy on the edge of windy, sunny and pretty, fall color.  Many turtles are out sunning themselves in the pond.  I attempted a picture with Elfie, my old Canon digital Elph camera, but it was pretty much a waste of time.  The zoom on it is useless, but it’s the only camera I have with me.
            Because of the wind, there are kites flying.  I see six of them at the boat launching site, the big semi-circular ones that look sort of like parachutes.
            I am walking the boardwalk.  Keith apparently doesn't like it.  I imagine this because several times, I asked him to choose which way to walk and he always chose the other way, into the woods, so, since he’s not with me (I miss him!), I chose to come this way today, for a change.  I don't find the marsh boring.  It's lovely in a zen-like way, with patches of subtle color and vegetation changes and I am glad to be here, taking my time to enjoy it.  I do love the woods, also.
            I am up at the boat launch area.  It is very windy out here; the wind is much stronger than in the woods.  The kite flyers have set up tent-like, lean-to-like colorful cloth shelters that are rippling in the wind with flapping and snapping sounds.  I wonder if there is a competition going on.   The kite-fliers are also flying flags.

          Those things I thought were shelters are NOT!  They are kites, laid on the semi-circular curved base.  Someone just came and picked one up and it trying to get it airborne.  The wind, while strong, is gusty and unpredictable.

            The man is wearing a uniform, which makes me wonder again if it is a competition.
            I turned away for a minute, and when I looked back, the shelter cum kite is airborne.  It's red, blue and white with letters, an L and an F.
            Some of the kites are bigger and some smaller.  Some wider and some narrower.  OH!
            OH! Now I see that the uniforms are wetsuits and the men are windsurfing.  They are out on the water blowing away in the wind.  How will they get back?
            They are going straight out into the lake, away from shore.  OH!  Now they are coming back.  Somehow, they are able to go both out and back.

            My guy, LF, is wading out, along with another guy, blue dude.  LF’s kite crashes in the water.  He gets it up again.  Meanwhile, another guy, red dude, surfs right up to where I am standing, clunks down, rotates and surfs extremely rapidly away again.  LF is still trying to get onto his board.
            I take some pictures with Elfie, wishing I had a better camera with me . . . I had no idea I would be here when I left home.  LF and blue dude are still struggling to get up while others race back and forth.  I can't believe how fast they go.
            It seems odd now that I thought the kites were an “Arab” tent village when I first saw them.  More men--and women are picking up the “tents,” which transform into kites, and heading for the water.  I watch a while, then give up waiting for LF to become waterborne.  I'm heading on and finishing my walk.  I'm really glad I came, though.  We've seen those same kites before and even photographed them behind the trees, but I had no idea people were surfing with them.
            When I get home, I look it up.  It’s called kitesurfing, and it looks very exciting and possibly dangerous. I guess because I don't watch TV, I'm not very well informed; if I did, I might have known about kitesurfing, though I do think I've seen pix of it before.  I just didn't make the connection with the big kites we’ve seen and with St. Clair Lake Metropark.


John said...

A fascinating story Mary, kitesurfing is news to me too. Thanks for sharing.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Thanks John! It was all new to me--a little journey of discovery! I;ve seen the kites before, as I mentioned, but behind a screen of trees--could not see what was going on. I was very excited to make the discovery!!

bluerose said...

Ha! What a fun read! I've watched kitesurfers many times, but it was fun discovering it anew again through your eyes.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Thanks, Blue Rose! :-D