I wake up, excited, feelings of surging adrenaline, anticipation; I can hardly control my speed – my brain a million miles a minute, my speech volume on 10, my feet fast as Scooby Doo’s. The sun is piling in the open aired home. A breeze settles. The flowing fabric, rippled in waves, like the movement of a flag proudly cresting it’s way over the tops of trees, sheer and light curtains flanking the open window. The breeze like an unsuspected guest blindly palming it’s way through narrow lanes, off to more distant destinations. A guest, a stranger. The sounds of Stevie Wonder, “Songs in the Key of Life” gently rowing beneath the rush of the kitchen faucet’s persistent whistle. A mindful hum, a warm, welcoming tune filling the room with light, with life, with joy. Mom. A lyric here followed by muddled hums and “la’s”, with improvised-life-longed choreographed movements – foot, ankle, knee, hip, playful as it were and practiced through a lifetime, unknowing. Unconscious to the conscious, performing for an audience of one. Lemon scented cleaning supplies amplify the room, in a delicate dance wurlitzing with the sounds of the stereo and the breeze intruding every so often just to silently exit, and then again. Repeat. It’s summer. It’s 4th of July.
To the Den I go. Yes! Perched on the sill, atop a wood flanked stoop, a box of fireworks. A Roman Candle, Blossoms, Snakes, Piccolo Petes, Sparklers! It’s endless! I can’t wait for the sun to retire, for the night to take over. Yet, I can’t let the sun leave so soon! There are trees to climb, bikes to ride, popsicles to lick, hamburgers to chomp – can you believe it? It’s SUMMER! No school, no shirts, hardly any clothes. Just my OP shorts, the fresh, clean ocean air, dragging over the sun kissed hills spotted with black trunked Oaks, wild grass, wild flowers and a California glow-like as shiny as gilded spindles and bales.
Hours pass as tiny feet race. There is no tired. As the sun dims, the hills glisten with gold plumes. Young hearts race. Is it night? Is it soon? The day has been an odyssey, the night only begun.
Families start pouring into the streets, dragging coolers filled with water, drinks and refreshments, aluminum chairs with plaid nylon strips anchored to one side of ellipse’d aluminum piping, then to the other, the nylon sagging, in a perfect bowl as bottoms settle in. Here comes Dad. His black mustache pulled up on either side, his cheeks stretched into a delightful grin. Out comes the parade of boxes, with colorful plumes of red, white and blue. Some boxes bigger than others, like the people carrying them – tall, skinny, fat, short. An arsenal of magic, like infantry, flank the front line, combat to a naked street. We are the back line, waiting for the front line to fire. One by one, the wicks a blaze, setting slow working fuses in a rustle of blue sparks negotiating its way down to cardboard collars and stocks. BOOM! Fire balls, sparkles, flames, whistles, plumes, rooster tails – the whole night sky ablaze! Magic! Eyes opened like dinner saucers, mouths agape, screams of joy. For hours it continues, until the last light dots the night sky.
The 4th of July. My favorite Holiday.
Be safe, be kind, be tolerant.
Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!