How strange to wake up on Independence Day to see my Twitter and Facebook feeds equally split between people who were enjoying the broadcast of Hamilton last night on Disney Plus and people who were watching the broadcast of President Trump at Mount Rushmore. What a juxtaposition!
I was not watching either. We went over to our neighborhood friends' house for our regularly scheduled wine, cheese, and other nibbles. We usually go on Thursdays, but this week, we switched to Friday so that we could do more with charcuterie. I had grand plans, but in the end, it was just some extras added to our usual treats: some salami, some cranberry-pepper jam, and two kinds of olives.
I was also feeling a complex mix of feelings because in the late afternoon, I got an e-mail from a dear South Florida friend who is moving to Chicago. She and her spouse want to be closer to their daughter.
I suspect that this season of pandemic will be similar to a bad hurricane season, in terms of how people analyze their lives and figure out what's working, what's not, and what's important. The friends who are moving to Chicago are retired, so they have some flexibility that those of us who are tenuously hanging onto our jobs may not have.
I am envious, even though I have no desire to move to Chicago. They made this decision to move just after Father's Day week-end, and now, here they are, 10 days later, with a plan, and this sense of purpose has propelled them into a grand adventure. I saw the pictures of their house on a real estate site, and they've already packed up a lot of the house. I envy them their energy.
I envy them their sense of purpose. I, too, have been doing lots of analyzing of what's working and what isn't, but unlike them, I haven't come up with a vision for what I want to move towards.
There have been previous 4th of July celebrations that we would have spent with them, afternoons grilling and swimming and dreaming of the future. At those celebrations, moving to Chicago wasn't ever in their plans.
How the world has changed.
In other years, we might have sat on our front porch, playing patriotic music on our violin/mandolin/ukulele as people made their way over to the beach to enjoy the fireworks. That won't be happening this year. Well, we may play music on the porch, but we won't be watching a municipal firewords display. Those have been cancelled across the nation.
It's a strange moment in the history of the nation to be having this celebration. A pandemic ravages the planet, people take to the street in levels of protests that we haven't seen since the 1960's, and there's an economic upset that threatens not only to compete with the Great Depression, but to take the record. Insert a heavy sigh here.
And yet, perhaps out of these ruins, we can build something better. It's happened before.
I'm grateful that I had a chance to know my grandmother in a deeper way than I would have if she had died when I was younger. She had survived more than I thought I would ever face: the Great Depression, World War II, various types of poverty. And yet, she not only survived, but she had a rugged resilience and a stubborn optimism.
I began the 4th of July week-end yesterday by hearing this new song by Rhiannon Giddens. It, too, reminds me that resilience comes out of adversity.
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