Ready to fly a kite?


I n 1847 Charles Ellet Jr. was commissioned to construct a bridge across the Niagara River. His first task was to create a line of communication followed by a solid line order to establish a link to the American side. Since the gorge was 800 feet wide it was too dangerous to attempt to establish this link by water.

It occurred to someone that kite flying might be the answer to this difficult problem. A five-dollar prize was offered to the person who could fly a kite across the Niagara Gorge. A young American boy named Homan Walsh, flying his kite from the Canadian shoreline, accomplished the feat on the second day of the contest.

The string of the kite was fastened to a tree on the American side and a light cord attached to it was pulled across. Next came a heavier cord, then a rope and finally a giant wire cable which was the beginning of the new bridge.

On July 26, 1848 the first Niagara Suspension Bridge was completed. It consisted of four massive towers 80 feet high, two on each bank connected by four giant cables each composed of 120 strands of number 10 wire. It was 762 feet long, 8 feet wide and the roadway was suspended 220 feet above the river below.

Once Edwin Markham, in contemplation, said our prayer life was much like the building of that bridge. He recounted how the builder sent across the gulf his venturing kite carrying a slender cord for unseen hands to grasp on the farther side and draw a greater cord and then a greater yet until at last across the chasm swung the cable and then the mighty bridge in air.

Even so, he said, we are privileged to send our little timid thoughts across the void, out to God’s reaching hands. Privileged, if we would have it so, to send out our love and faith to thread the deep as it were again and again, greater and greater still until at last the little cord has greatened to a mighty cable no chance can break and we are anchored to the Infinite.

Dwight D. Eisenhower believed firmly in the power of prayer. He once said, “A thousand experiences have convinced me beyond the shadow of a doubt that prayer multiplies the strength of the individual and brings within the scope of his capabilities almost any conceivable objective.”

What about it? Are you ready to go and fly a kite? Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years before retiring. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.

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2012-09-06 digital edition

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