Thursday, July 3, 2014

#168 - Happy 4th of July

As I write this, I am sitting at my desk at work, watching the clock, and waiting for the magic hour when I will be independent of the responsibilities of work and free to enjoy the holiday weekend.

Just in time for the Fourth, the weather has decided to treat us, not to fireworks but, to some of the hottest temperatures of the year thus far. The phrase “hotter than a firecracker” comes to mind. Whoever came up with that phrase must have been sweltering on a Fourth of July not too unlike the one expect to experience this year in Idaho.

Speaking of firecrackers, for many people, I imagine the Fourth of July conjures up visions of massive fireworks displays staged by whatever city they happen to call home. For others, I suspect the Fourth is an excuse to drink too much and then shoot off either their illegal fireworks or their guns or both. I also suspect but cannot prove that the probability of someone doing something really stupid increases exponentially come the Fourth of July. Because of all of these things, I expect to read and /or hear of several fires starting over the holiday weekend, most of which will eventually turn out to be caused by fireworks.

For me, the Fourth of July usually means getting out of town and away from the fireworks. I’ve never really been a big fan of fireworks or of fireworks displays. As a result, I usually try to schedule a camping trip to a location where such things are not allowed. The fourth of July, aka Independence Day, is also an opportunity for me to be independent of city life, the 9 to 5, and rush hour traffic.

Of course, The Fourth of July commemorates America’s declaration of independence from the British and the founding of our nation, even though technically, America as we know it was not truly formed for almost 12 years after July 4, 1776. The nation as we know it actually dates to 1788, and we would have – if anyone had thought to do so – celebrated the nation’s 226th anniversary June 21, the date New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the Constitution.

The nation has changed in many ways in the years since its founding. For one thing, despite our independent streak, it could be argued that America is more dependent than independent – things that happen halfway around the world do eventually affect life in this country, especially when they impact the flow of foreign oil on which we heavily depend. Living in cities, as most of us do, we are dependent on city services – police, fire, water, etc. The nation itself is built on a structure that makes us dependent on one another through our elected representatives to get things done. (o, in the case of the current Congress, not get things done.)

Nature, too, makes us dependent on one another as it does not recognize state or national borders. As a result, environmental issues and events in other states and nations can and likely will eventually affect our own environment, just as such issues and events here where I live can and will affect other states and countries. Witness the water disputes of recent years between Georgia and Alabama and between states along the Colorado River. As the old Disney song states, “it’s a small world, after all.”

In spite of the troubles of the world – both in and outside these borders – the fourth of July will be for most people a time of celebration. I hope your holiday is an enjoyable one – independent of any issues or concerns you currently face. They’ll still be there Monday. In the meantime, enjoy the holiday and the weekend.

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