How I spent the 4th of July

I am not big fan of the 4th of July. It's not that I wish to be unpatriotic. I love this complex, conflicted country of ours. It is beautiful and founded on ideals I fully embrace: freedom and equality for all men.

I have a problem with our generic use of men when we mean people. It's an old phrase and should not be used that way any more. We should say what we mean. When we mean men and women, say so. Use "people" or "human beings" or "humanity" but don't use "men" unless that's what your mean. I am not, nor ever will be, a man. I don't want to be lumped into that category as if I have no gender identity of my own.

So, I love our ever expanding understanding of who is included in the word "men." With our various Ammendments to the Constitution we gradually including everyone regardless of gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. But, like I said, its complex and the process is fraught with conflict. And, it's not really what I want to reflect on today.

One of the things I love about our country is our passion for setting aside natural habitats like forest preserves and national parks which retain the beauty of this land. These natural sites are real blessing, but also another sign of our complexity and conflict. We would probably build on every square inch of land if we could.

The Chicago area is particularly wonderful for its Cook County Forest Preserves. These preserves are spread through out the metro area covering vast amounts of land, miles and miles, around lakes and rivers, forests and prairie land. Much of my day yesterday was spent in a forest preserve.

Usually we go to dog park to walk our dogs, or around the block...but yesterday we decided to explore a new forest preserve near our home. We drive by it but have never stopped. So. We packed up a cooler of chilled beverages (pepsi, diet mountaint dew, water). We leashed the dogs and filled their water container and set off.

It was a lovely walk through trees and grasses. We walked for 3 miles (not far, but far enough in 85 degree humid sun). When we started out it was overcast and on the cool side. But true to Chicago weather the clouds blew over and soon we were in blazing sun. The entire walk took 90 minutes. It was so refreshing, when all was done, to stand in the shade of tree, a cool breeze blowing, sipping those cold beverages. The dogs laid in the grass, so very content and exhausted. And all night they were tired. Which was a good thing.

We were supposed to have dinner with friends, but they got sick. So, husband and I had a lovely meal on our deck, just the two of us. Daughter was at the Wisconsin Dells with friends and their family. Son was at a BBQ with friends. We ate hamburgers, guacamole, and apple pie.

Then we watched the local fireworks. Which we can see and hear from our front porch. It's the best. Just step outside and enjoy. I love the professional fireworks. I love the boom and the bursting color. It's exhilarating. But I HATE the locals who illegally blow of stuff all around. Scaring my dogs and cats and keeping me on the alert for a fire. We close up the house and turn on the AC and try to block it out. But the animals still hear them, and they still freak out. It's too sad. So, what I really hate about the 4th, all those illegal fireworks. I love it when it starts to rain about 10pm.


Anonymous said…
I'm with you on the illegal fireworks, It seems like it gets worse every year.
mompriest said…
Kievas, i agree!
Diane said…
me too. And Scout is ok indoors, but she won't walk outside at night if there is anything going off.

I agree with everything in your post, including the celebration of our national/state park systems.

conflicted though is right.
mompriest said…
Thanks. Our sweet beasties. Thankfully my dogs did ok, due to complete exhaustion, if I said, "It's ok, it's ok" in a real calm voice. But my cats, no hope. they were just freaked.
Seeker said…
Your dinner for two on the deck with a view of the fireworks sounds heavenly! What a treat!

Our 4th in South Florida this year was thunderstorms, followed by a downpour, followed by rain! Some of the cities managed to get their fireworks launched -- with all the rain, it created a mysterious smokey evening. Very other-wordly outside around 11 pm.

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