Poetry for a Friday
Like many of you, we are celebrating a very quiet 4th of July this year. It doesn't feel celebratory. It just feels . . . quiet. And more than a little sad.
Yet . . . here we are.
I've been thinking about 4th of Julys in days-gone-by. Parades. Cookouts. Family picnics. Watermelon. Fireworks at the lake.
This year? It's me and Tom . . . and Hamilton on tv.
And JoJo in her ThunderVest, cowering under our feet.
Maybe you've seen the "We are all Fauci" t-shirts? Well. I think I should create a "We are all JoJo" t-shirt from this picture. Because here we are, feeling just like JoJo . . . bewildered, afraid, confused, and strapped into a ThunderShirt while living through "hell week." (If you're into fireworks, please think of all the petrified animals out there this weekend. And maybe re-consider the whole practice.)
Anyway. Here's a poem for you on this Friday. May it bring to mind happier celebrations in past days (certainly) -- and in the future (hopefully). And . . . may it serve as a reminder that we can still find and share joy.
In the Fourth of July Parade
Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
Right down the middle of main street
the woman with the long red braids
and fairy wings strapped to her back
rode a unicycle more than two times
taller than she was—rode it with balance
and grace, her arms stretched out,
as if swimming through gravity,
as if embracing space—her smile an invitation
to join in her bliss. How simple it is, really,
to make of ourselves a gate that swings open
to the joy that is. How simple, like tossing
candy in a parade, to share the key to the gate.
My best wishes to all of you . . . for a weekend filled with peace and solace, time to rest -- and things that bring you joy. (And maybe some poetry, too.) (Also Hamilton.)
Today's poem was published in American Life In Poetry: Column 797, edited by Ted Kooser. Information about the poet can be found here.
And for me, this is the first 4th of July in many many years that I've actually looked forward to since Dale will be home and not working. No big gathering for us, just our kids, but that's all I want anyway. Fireworks are illegal in MA but that doesn't seem to stop people from setting them off at home anyway, sadly. Cheers to Hamilton!
Posted by: Carole | 07/03/2020 at 08:19 AM
The fireworks are out of control here. Last night my kid was up until around midnight because people kept setting them off and jolting her out of almost-sleep. Perhaps I should get her a Thundershirt! Here's hoping all of you have a quiet weekend.
Posted by: Sarah | 07/03/2020 at 09:11 AM
Poor JoJo! Fireworks are illegal in NJ, too, but I was surprised to see pop-up fireworks stands seemingly every 500 ft here in MD. People have been setting them off since last weekend, so I'm not looking forward to the actual 4th. Thanks for sharing the key to the gate.
Posted by: Bonny | 07/03/2020 at 09:23 AM
'balance and grace...' (I've been trying to regain both, lately).
Our dogs are keeping JoJo very good company, I'm sorry to say. (Our enormous newfie hides in our teeny tiny cottage shower! And I don't blame him! This is my least fave night of the year. And unfortunately, it tends to extend well after the 4th around here!)
Posted by: Carolyn Seymour Thomas | 07/03/2020 at 10:02 AM
Fireworks here are illegal as well, however, every year people are setting them off. I would cry when on call in the OR on the 4th. The stupid and really dangerous traumas that came in due to fire works and ETOH kept us working for 36 hours straight, each and every year! On the 4th, I say "stay home, enjoy a quiet safe day!"
Posted by: eileen | 07/03/2020 at 10:47 AM
Fireworks have an ever increasing problem this year. The 4th is not the same but we will gather at my brother’s seaside cottage Keeping 6ft apart for Happy hour. We usually have a large celebration with my nephews,girlfriends, and my daughter and her family. Not this year. But I’m keeping faith that better times will come and we will all be together soon. I can’t wait to watch Hamilton tonight!
Posted by: Geri | 07/03/2020 at 05:02 PM
Oh, those poor ears pressed flat back! Our labs used to climb into the tub and shiver (and pee!) whenever there was thunder or fireworks! Poor things!
Posted by: Julia in KW | 07/03/2020 at 05:51 PM
It is sad. I feel sad about how many years I celebrated this holiday without giving a second thought to the folks it ignored, or worse, made to feel less. and I used to love the fireworks. now, with Holly (who relies on me to be her human thunder coat), I don't have that either. sigh. maybe it feels right that it will be a quiet, alone kind of weekend. ON A HAPPIER NOTE - it IS a weekend. and I think we're at what, weekend 1,000,000?! and we should make space to celebrate something.
Posted by: Mary | 07/03/2020 at 06:01 PM
Like JoJo, I would not miss fireworks. The professional shows were/are one thing, but I hate that powerful fireworks can be used in neighborhoods now. Even that I could take if it was only one night. But many people don't respect the generous legal timeframe they're given and it's those random "shows" that are really unnerving for animals (my poor Oscar right now) and people alike. My husband used to work at the VA, and while they could try to prepare vets for July 4th, those "anytime I feel like it" explosions could trigger massive PTSD symptoms.
Posted by: Karel | 07/03/2020 at 06:34 PM
Our neighborhood has been "fireworks aplenty, on all sides" this weekend. I can hear some neighbors dogs crying... and it makes my heart ache. But, can we really expect anything different? We are a society who cares little for anyone but ourselves.
We are not celebrating this year... although, we watched Hamilton last night and have plans to again this afternoon! My, is it good!
Posted by: Kat | 07/04/2020 at 11:22 AM
Aw, Now THAT made me feel like our old parades ten years ago in Illinois. IT would start at 11, on a blazing hot day. We would seek out one tree's shade near our friends house on the route. By the time it was noon, the real floats were coming by and the marching kids looked too hot to carry on, but they did. Candy was thrown. Politicians were everywhere. Good bands played good music. Local places and one nieghborhood always made a float for their mark in Glenview History. THen back to the house to cool off. Before a neighbor's yearly small gathering of 6 for bbq . tTHen Fireworkds by my moms house, you could see them all from her dirveway . She lived right off the golf course that organzied themm
Posted by: Kathy Boyer | 07/04/2020 at 01:13 PM
Fireworks are legal in our community on the 3rd and 4th and it is a barrage. I have come to strongly dislike personal fireworks. It's hard on vets with PTSD, pets, the birds, the environment, and the emergency room personnel. And don't get me started on letting kids ignite gunpowder. Who ever thought that was a good idea???
Anywho we skipped our annual potluck with friends and are home, hopefully with Hamilton.
Posted by: Jane | 07/04/2020 at 03:34 PM