July 4th On The 7th

I know I’m a few days off – we had friends with us over the weekend, and I have yet to figure out how to secret myself away to write, while trying to maximize time with our guests. Sure, I could get up earlier still – but that’s when I catch up on reading your posts!

A weekend of weather so perfect that remaining inside would have been an insult to Mother Nature. The wind whispered its secrets through the trees, the sun stood front and center, daring a cloud to engage in a game of hide-and-seek. The clouds knew better than to try.

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We decided to watch the fireworks from a mountain overlook. Not exactly a novel idea – chairs were set up and ‘reserved’ before 9:00AM. Nonetheless, we had great seats. I brought my new (and first) camera – it’s point and shoot (because that’s pretty much the breadth of my talent). The pictures I took of the fireworks themselves are truly terrible, but I promised someone I would post at least one. Somehow the time between ‘point’ and ‘shoot’ is where I failed miserably.

I know...

I know…

My words won’t do them justice either. Our elevation was such that we were almost eye-to-eye with the fireworks. The whistle, the booms and cracks echoed in the air as thousands of stars exploded, raining down with sizzle and shine. Multi-colored or bright white mattered little; we were sitting in the sky watching magic happen all around us.

And it’s that ‘all around us’ that’s circling my thoughts this morning. To our right a group of young people were drinking a lot and talking too loud about tawdry topics that had Suz and I giggling – a lot. Behind us, people who were definitely AARP members (of greater seniority than yours truly) wore red, white and blue wigs and hats, neon necklaces and delight that a child couldn’t parallel. Children – yes, all over the place. Jumping, yelling, falling over each other and everyone else. Dads and moms, golf scores, shout-outs to kids; lovers young and old. Somehow it felt like we all huddled closer, as the temperature dropped and the winds made their presence felt. People in shorts, wrapped in blankets, waiting for wonder.

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And there was the greater wonder for me. People who didn’t know each other, acting as if they did. Friendship exchanged without names or judgment or pretense. Nothing mattered except being there for a shared purpose and an air of collective anticipation. That’s the 4th of July. The stars on the ground – recognizing that at the end of the day, we can share moments of tremendous delight and pride, decency despite differences that ultimately are not elevated to a level of such importance that they dwarf the heights of people enjoying being a part of something bigger than dissent. Lucky for you, I didn’t even try to take a picture of that.

48 thoughts on “July 4th On The 7th

  1. The perfect Karma day on the mountain, Mimi, and described only the way you can.

    Thank you.

    And you need not beat yourself up about the fireworks photo, my friend. It looks like an eye-level Fourth of July beauty shot from a mountain to me!

    (You’ll polish the lag between the “shoot” and the “shutter release.” It took me several with the iPhone 4 at the stadium to time it better and better.)

    • I posted that pic for you Mark (as you know), and I really appreciate your vote of confidence. There was a guy there with a tripod and all this very impressive equipment – for a moment, I wondered if I could just ask him to send me one of his shots!!
      So until I get to where you are in the photo department, I’m going to have to rely on my words and the kindness of people like you. ;-)

  2. I was right there with ya, honey, for ‘the rockets red glare’ :-) What a magical picture you paint of your night on the mountain. I love that you had this experience with Andy and good friends (some old and obviously some new! :-) ) Thank you for sharing your evening with all of us and for reminding us, once more, what’s *really* important. Love you so…. xoxoxo, l

  3. Lovely post as always! Loved the photos — I am sure you will become a talented and experienced photographer — but the true gift that you already possess — is the ability to beautifully paint the picture with words. XOK.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  4. I know that feeling, people acting as if they know one another.I think it comes from a shared sense of purpose. James Taylor concerts were always like that! Happy 4th, Mimi!

    • YES!! I saw JT and Carole King at Madison Sq. Garden when they did their Troubador Tour – that feeing of intimacy and friendship among thousands was amazing.

      • Totally. The two of them must have been amazing. I try to see him at Tanglewood every few years. People sit on blankets sharing wine and dinner. It’s amazing.

  5. Sounds like you had a fun time. I love being around new groups of people and watching and striking conversations. Great fun. To me the fireworks are secondary. Nice post!!😀

  6. A beautiful spirit sharing moments of magic in a way so eloquent we can experience it all with her. Delightful! I felt the chill in the air, the connection with others, the anticipation, the moment when the first fireworks were shot into the air. Lovely indeed. Thank you for taking us along with you, Mimi.
    Russ

  7. for your first try mim…the picture is actually quite a catch. and I mean it. I loved hearing (in my head of course, thanks to you) the giggling ‘older teens’, the excited cries of the little ones, the oohs and ahhs of delight that must have drawn huge smiles and warmed chilled bones. so happy you all enjoyed the adventure…xoxo

    • You – my phenomenal photographer friend, you’re assessment is waaaaay too generous – and I thank you for it. It really was a special evening – one I hope we make a tradition (and you would have been hysterical listening to these young adults talking about who they would give ‘a pass’ to their girlfriend/boyfriend for…xox

  8. It sounds like a wonderful time Mimi…. and spending time with family and friends should take priority over a post being a couple of days behind. Life is too short to miss a moment with those you love!

  9. had never brought that perspective to July 4th, but you’re spot on! Thanks for sharing. We had a bit of the same experience in a different way. Wore ourselves out that day, taking a new light rail system into the city and shopping. Exhausted come evening, so didn’t feel up to heading to our city’s fireworks display. Instead, we built a bonfire and dug out s’mores ingredients. We have neighbors from Nigeria with three little boys ages 5-10. They pop up often when our girls are outside and its fun to see them all playing. They also pop up a lot when we have food around and they were there that night. So we had them over–along with their mom–for a backyard firework display and s’mores. They had never had s’mores before, so it was fun to see them gobble it all down. (they went through an entire bag of marshmallows) And like you said, that’s kind of what the holiday is about–different sorts of folks coming together as Americans :-D

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