Go Fly a Kite ... with Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, May 13, 2000

An 18th century afternoon on Mt.
Tamalpais in Marin County to see the wildflowers, fly kites and picnic
with a special appearance by Benjamin Franklin. 

Mr. Franklin (James Langdell) explains his experiment using a kite, a key and  storm clouds. He is ably assisted by the charming Mrs. Franklin (Danine Cozzens). The kite episode has become an icon by which Franklin is still remembered; in the 18th century it made him an international celebrity. Franklin's famous experiment channeled electricity from storm clouds down a wire to a key, against which glass rods were held to obtain the charge. James and Danine built a reproduction of Franklin's kite based on information Franklin wrote in a letter describing the experiment with illustrations of his construction.

The day was perfect with mild temperatures, a big blue sky, a few artfully placed white clouds, and light breezes. We created a lovely tablleau as we wandered over the gentle hills, letting our kites soar into the sky. On the right, Kathleen Crowley watches her kite rise.

We were on top of Mt. Tamalpais. Seabirds, hawks, crows, and curlews soared above us sharing the sky with our colourful kites. The hillsides were covered in delicate wildflowers, tall grasses, and heather.

Theresa Eacker, Janet Canning, and Kathleen Crowley stroll along the path out to the cliffs to see the spectacular view down to the coastline and the little town of Stinson Beach. Their charming 18th century gowns look perfect on the green hillside.

We had a visit from a park ranger who was naturally honoured to meet Mr. Franklin. He told us we were the best dressed picnicers he'd ever seen.


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