Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bursting In Air


I love July 5th. Any day that follows the 4th is going to be better. Oh, I believe I'm as patriotic as the next guy/person. But July 4th is loaded...literally. My neighbor's well drugged dog has survived another evening of shell shock. We often forget how a canine's sensitive hearing perceives the onslaught that continues well past midnight. Where I live, I can hear both Portland and Vancouver, Washington's annual explosive offerings. Those echos bounce around the Willamette and Columbia rivers like toy boats crashing into all manner of air currents and sound tunnels.
It's really got very little to do with the Declaration of Independence any more, hasn't it? But this morning dawned sunny and peaceful, with only the white noise of traffic and a slight breeze.
Little Toto was still not normal, but he's beginning to believe that the immediate danger is over.
The crows took off for more rural surroundings on Saturday evening. I think they knew what was in store. Either that or they'e been to Iraq or Afghanistan and decided to just abandon the large elm trees they usually occupy for a few days. I'm not sure how the squirrels fared. Conspicuously absent, they will emerge by this afternoon to pick up some of the pieces...peanuts, fruit peels, berries.
So it's done and the flag was still there. Bring on the summer.
Last Sunday afternoon, while at a friend's BBQ backyard gathering, I chanced to get into a conversation with some folks seeking shade under a giant umbrella. As often happens, politics reared it's frothy head. What a great opportunity to discuss the current state of affairs without getting over emotional I thought. And I did.
The conversation, led by a verbose woman who, as luck would have it, was sitting on a stool about a foot higher than everyone else, got around to particular politicians. When our "leader" called MItch McConnell "stupid" a rather portly man piped up, "He's not stupid. He may be a right wing, intolerant, Republican, but I assure you he's not stupid." At that, an intense woman who had joined the circle of conversation a few minutes earlier decided to respond. I was wondering about her. A tall,thin, rather Balkan looking woman, she was intently listening with her head down most of the time. I was waiting for her to either leave or erupt. She erupted. First she told us that she was an immigrant from Czechoslovakia and felt her perspective on American politics was such that she had a hard time with Americans who whine all the time about their political institution. What ensued was a sort of "try being locked up for what you say or not being able to travel anywhere when you want to" kind of diatribe. Tough to argue with that. Nobody did. I'm sure everyone sitting around the only naturalized citizen at the table wanted to offer more. But nobody did. I was thinking of going down the "you are quite right, but even the politics of the U.S.A. is perfectible. That intolerance and greed and unethical politicians are unfortunately the norm. I could have elaborated on the current attack on that most democratic of all our public institutions: our schools. Best not to mess with someone's notion of The American Dream on July 4th weekend. Wait till Labor Day.

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