This was an email I sent to a friend today…who not only suggested that I post it as a blog but served as a kindly reminder of the blog I have, as of late, been neglecting. My apologies….to me.
Happy (post) 4th of July! Did you do anything patriotic? Watch the fireworks? Read the Declaration by candles like in breeches? Promote American obesity by downing grilled fatty sketchy meats?
I did none of the above.
Though, I did hear the loud explosive sound of fireworks in the distance and peered from beyond the curtain to catch a few fleeting colors in the dark sky.
I remember as a small child in Montana; we would lay on this hill, that seemed so significant on all other occasions, to view the fireworks. The hill really was nothing special, mostly covered in dried grass, the kind that serves no visual or cushioning purpose, looks as though it is dried from the sun year round. As insignificant as that hill may have been, on the 4th it was the prime spot for fireworks, as they danced directly overhead. The display was so grand, so immediate; the sky was overwhelmed with explosives of all colors. I remember being occupied with the thought of them dancing down onto me. Were these fireworks really that fantastical? Or was I just small?
Needless to say, I missed the fireworks this time around…but I did take an excellent kayaking adventure with the Russian (who apparently doesn’t like to swim in cold water) and a few Merry Wives friends. It was WONDERFUL! I am just a water child though…I love the water!
We kayaked on Town Lake down to Barton Springs, beached our kayaks, swam a little bit (only for the brave of hear, myself included, as the water was chilly) and then headed home. It was divine.
I managed to brave the sun pretty well with my Coppertone SPF 100 (applied twice, as needed) yet I still got burnt on my arms and hands….everything else remained safe from the UV! Victor (the Russian) was not so luck; he now has matching radish red leggings and arm-length gloves with an additional neck wrap in the same shade…thanks to the sun. He learned his lesson though…next time when I offer the SPF, he will accept.
The weather was perfect for this little boat trip and the journey was equally as divine. As we crossed the lake with miles of water ahead, we turned off into the perfect river setting with trees shading us from the violent sun and a gentle breeze moving us along (accompanied by our heroic rowing efforts). As we passed through the green canopy, green canopy was below the surface of the water; our rows grazed the heavy plant life as we paddles upstream.
We decided to take it easy on the journey home…for some reason; heading out we were paddling like we had somewhere to be, consequentially, our arms needed a break. As we once again approached the lake, we tied all our boats together and drifted along for sometime…it was lovely and had many giggles. We found ourselves becoming the river greeters as we wished a happy 4th to kayaks, canoes and boats passing by. My friend Nicole and I fought a battle with the clouds; she was against them, naturally, with my pale complexion, I am always in favor. As our kayaks broke free from one another, so did we; it was a race to the finish. First place goes to the ladies who took out the swans at the docks, those swans did not go out without a fight.
The evening was much less eventful but involved the likes of Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbant, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman and Robbie Coltrane…..yup, I watched Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I don’t know how this British movie, protraying British actors, written by a UK author has become a 4th of July staple…but I swear…it always on TV that day.
There was one element of my 4th that brought tradition home. Friday morning (the 2nd, the original day of the Declaration…the 4th was when it was sent out to the colonies to be read and consequentially dated for that purpose) as I drove to work, NPR delighted me with a reading of the ENTIRE Declaration. All the news anchors for Morning Edition and the likes were assigned sections; they read aloud the Declaration and turned it into something of poetry to me. Its hard to appreciate a lot of what our government or law write, rather dry; but the Declaration of Independence is stunning. For a moment I thought about Jefferson, slaving hard over every sentence until it had reached acceptable perfection. I was reminded of the founders of our country and democracy, will we ever have impassioned leaders as they? Men who experienced tyranny and new found independence, our government must have seemed like a child to them. Its easy to forget the thought that it put into so many things, including the force that allows our country to be what it is. I’m no patriot….but I can certainly appreciate and admire those that created and their original intentions.
So…open water and Harry Potter. Happy 4th everyone.