Friday, July 1, 2011

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY! – Make It Wonder-full!

These long summer holiday weekends, it's easy to lose sight of what the occasion's really all about. Sure, the Fourth is about fun. After all, it's a celebration, a cherished opportunity to spend a few of these long, languid days just being outdoors, having fun with people we love, and eating our way into a long nap in a hammock.

But the fourth is also a time for gratitude—an appreciation of living in this great, fiercely independent nation whose liberty was hard won two-and-a-half centuries ago. I try never to lose sight of this, even though that liberty is awfully easy to take for granted, since it's only rarely been challenged since—and even more rarely on our own soil.*

The Fourth of July also has come to represent a passage into summer, especially for those of us living in northern climes. (I think we can be fairly sure it won't snow now!) So let's be aware of all those little wonders that make this season such a blessing.

Here are just a few of the small wonders I plan to notice and appreciate as if I were experiencing them for the very first time:
  • The way kernels of fresh sweet corn pop as my teeth plow through them
  • The pulsing sizzle of a hot meadow teeming with life
  • How my skin smells toasted in sunny, sultry air

  • The pink crystalline coolness of watermelon chilled in the creek
  • The misty echo up and down the river valley of a big aerial bomb's boom
  • Water – that amazing clear, cool, flowing substance that both sustains and entertains
  • A bluegill's arresting colors and texture and spiny dorsal fin
  • The magical, winking syncopation of firefly glow with cricket chirp
  • The sweet, evocative smell of freshly mown grass
  • The faces of my grandchildren as they too experience wonder

What little wonders will you be 
ready to embrace this Fourth of 
July weekend?

* It saddens me to note the deeply troubling undercurrent to this year's otherwise joyous celebration of Independence Day. Never in my long life have I been as deeply concerned about the state of my country. 
We've elected a shallow, narcissistic, willfully ignorant reality-show host as president. His yes-men appointees, as well as majorities in both houses of Congress seem hell-bent on turning the nation's back on our responsibilities—not just to the rest of the world, but to the poorest, most vulnerable of our own countrymen. In six months we've become the laughing stock of the world.
Instead of America's trademark optimism, drive and inspired leadership, we're retreating into a cowardly shell of fear, enabling shameless opportunism by a visionless, doom-and-gloom ruling oligarchy. 
It is nothing less than an assault on our country's founding principles and on much of the hard-won cultural evolution we've achieved during my lifetime. 



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