Friday, July 02, 2010

Celebrating Freedom

Writing.  Gardening.  Chickens.

The weather turned cool and rainy (again) but apparently it's just a passing thing.  Looks like we'll have a really nice Independence Day, Fourth of July, whatever you want to call it.

We can see several fireworks shows off in the distance from our place.  It's nice to kick back, listen to our own music, and watch the colors and lights, and listen to the distant booms.  The pops, cracks and explosions are on long delay.  Sometimes we count the delay, like lightning and thunder.

So, weirdly, it's a peaceful holiday for us.  Sometimes the neighbors put on a show, but even that is usually pretty brief, and then relative quiet descends.  We just have a few extra pretty, sadly brief stars in the sky.  The animals are grateful.

Which makes me really feel for the folks in town where there are fireworks galore starting a couple of days before and continuing to pop off for days afterward, not to mention ongoing chaos long after the advertised hours most cities post for legal firework activities.  I don't know what percentage love the holiday vs. those that loathe and/or fear it, but I do know there are enough people and animals that suffer with all the noise that it lends a keen edge to the day.

I don't think something should be banned because it upsets a bunch of people and/or animals.  There are lots of things that we do that are downright deadly that no one would dream of ever banning, like driving around in cars, or eating ribeye steaks.  (Well, okay, some people dream about that.)  Still, I try to be a careful driver, mindful of my responsibilities.  I don't give vegetarians a hard time for their food choices, as I expect that they won't hassle me about mine.  And when we shoot off fireworks, for the sake of our neighbors and our animals, we keep it short, sweet, and within the legal hours.  It just seems more ... I don't know ... in the spirit of celebrating an American holiday to not only express joy at our freedoms, but to respect the fact that we're not a monoculture--we're all about the melting pot (or we claim to be--or is that no longer taught in schools?)  I'd hate to see a tradition banned for fear of injuries or offending someone or excluding people or out of dread that we'd be promoting something religious or pseudo-religious on a government/social level using the Constitution as an excuse, like the whole Christmas thing being banned from schools (I'm not even a Christian and that still makes no sense.)  But keeping Independence Day and all our holidays in perspective, so that they're fun, rather than using it as an excuse to terrorize or intimidate or to try to make it into some sort of political statement that supports a party or an action toward a foreign nation ... fun makes sense to me.  It also makes sense to expect that people will do whatever they want and twist around whatever celebration comes along to serve their own purposes at the expense of others.  That's part of our country too--we have good, and bad, and I don't think we should ban Halloween because some kids egg peoples' houses.  You know?

Yay freedom.  Yay courage.  Yay living all together, in as much peace as a bunch of messed-up primates can manage.  Holidays, whether they're religious, political, or social, are always a mixed bag.  You can't have Father's Day without an estranged family feeling in the dumps about it or men who are intentionally childless wondering where the heck is the day that honors them?  But I wouldn't want to do without holidays. 

By the way, for those who feel left out:  there's no reason why folks can't celebrate or make up their own holidays, and move them around the calendar to fit their days off if need be.  It's not like Easter is on the same day each year, you know.  We celebrate our own holidays here at the farm all the time.  They circle around birthdays and the seasons.  They're no less special just because there's only a few of us that celebrate them.  

So here's to the Fourth, and to holidays in general.  Maybe you can celebrate, if nothing else, life and that which you love.

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