We are often on a sailing trip during the 4th of July; we won't be doing that this year. Our church has an ice cream social before the Pembroke Pines fireworks display, but I don't feel like heading across the county on the 4th.
Can we see the beach fireworks from our house? We shall see.
It seems like a good 4th to stay close to home. We've had a very dry summer, and now everyone will be shooting off fireworks. I feel uneasy, all that open flame, all that dry tinder.
I love the kind of fireworks that municipalities display. I hate, hate, hate the noisy things that ordinary citizens buy. They sound too much like gunfire.
In some ways, this holiday reminds me of Halloween. The rest of the nation celebrates and has fun, and I feel under siege. And I feel like there's something wrong with me, yet I also wonder why others don't see the dangers. With Halloween, it's adults in costume with lots of alcohol--what could go wrong? With Independence Day, it's fireworks in a time of drought and alcohol--what could go wrong?
I have a watermelon. We can have a cook out. Maybe I'll zip to the store to get the materials for s'mores. But I'd like to do something more memorable.
I'd like to be near a national monument. I used to spend the 4th in or near the D.C. area. There are so many reminders of what a miracle our country is.
When I'm on Facebook, I'm amazed at the anger and vitriol that some display, the sweeping generalizations that I see and hear. I want to go into teacher mode. I want to point out how wonderful it is that so many of us can have such a wide range of opinions, and none of us will be carted off to jail, unless we decide to do something violent on the behalf of those opinions.
So today, let me give thanks for this freedom that we've somehow managed to maintain. But let me not be blind to the oppression that many still face. Even in our country, we have too many citizens who are not safe, who do not have their basic liberties assured.
And let me try to be festive, even as I'm staying alert. In a fit of exuberance earlier this spring, we bought a lot of festive lights, solar powered, lights that after dark twinkle in different patterns and colors. They're designed to float in the pool.
Back before the stifling heat descended, we sat outside for hours, watching the lights in the pool. We will do that again tonight. And because it is so hot, we will swim in the sparkling water.
We will also have a fire in the fire pit. We have lots of wood left over from an old fencing project that we should get rid of. And tonight the air will be heavy with smoke. There are times when I feel guilty about creating air pollution with a open fire, but that will not be the case tonight.
Along the way, I'll play with poetry, teaching, and other art forms. My spouse said, "What should I do with these old watches that no longer work?" I said, "Build a sculpture." So I might do that.
And I will remember to pray: for peace in our time, for those who aren't assured of their basic liberties, for those who need freedom from tyrannies of all sorts.
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