Monday, July 04, 2016

Happy Independence Day!

I love the 4th of July! I enjoy the fireworks, the picnics, the parades, the family time.

But more important than all of that, is the true meaning of Independence. It has layers and layers of meanings, mostly depending upon one's own experiences and history. For me, July 4th has always be a fun day full of good food, family/friends, and celebrations. I have had to drag some folks along to enjoy the fireworks, but we always have a good time while we are there. Alas, they don't appreciate that the aftermath of driving home through lots of traffic is really worth all the time and energy it takes!!!

But independence means so much more, especially as I age and being independent is getting more difficult to maintain. The truth is, none of us are really independent. We all need one another, we rely on others each and every day of our lives for the things we take most for granted - water, food, clothing, home. We rely on the service industries, the utility companies, the educational system, the traffic lights, and so much more. We are NOT independent of one another at all.

For me personally, this year planting my flowers required some help from the younger generation, not just from my spouse, who has always had more physical strength than I to dig holes for rose bushes, etc. This year, kneeling was bad enough, but the getting up and getting down is so difficult that I did not want to plant the seeds myself... This may be the last year I try to do that, sad to admit. My body is no longer strong enough to do simple, routine tasks that once went unnoticed by me.

Independence equates freedom to most of us. The freedom to be who we are, without shame or derision. The freedom to say and do what we wish, provided it's legal to do so, of course. Yet there are so many people who do NOT have that freedom in our country. The impoverished, the homeless, the "people of color" (or African Americans or whatever we are deeming the polite way to differentiate them when they are not different than anyone else), the indigenous peoples, the mentally ill, the physically ill, the disabled, the list is endless.

We talk about "diversity" as a good thing, yet we all have experienced it as a negative. And the more "diverse" one is, the more difficult life is for that individual or group. Why is that so, in this land of freedom?

Just my musings for the day... even as I celebrate freedom. I hope you enjoy my photo collage created with the help of Picassa and lots of fireworks photos collected over the years. May each of you enjoy your independence today and every day.

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