This year, Bryce and I enjoyed a pretty low-key and relaxing Fourth. The night before, we spent the night up the canyon at his mom’s house. Though there was no imminent fire danger to the house that night, given that our state seems ready to burn to the ground and that she was gone for the night, she asked us to stay and armed us with a list of important items to gather in case something did happen. We played with the animals, spotted a porcupine, watched an owl fly away into the bright moon, and listened to the coyotes howl. (I’m always a little blown away that Bryce grew up surrounded by so much nature.) More importantly, fire did not come.
On the Fourth we ate our way through the local Arts Festival and then headed south for some time with my family. We napped, we grilled (Bryce’s beer boiled brats were fantastic!), we fed ducks, and we enjoyed mighty fine company.
That evening we headed to Stadium of Fire for a little Beach Boys music and pyrotechnic magic, and we were not disappointed. I was surprised, though, at how overcome with emotion I was at the outset of the program, when the stadium rose to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I was unable to finish the words, and didn’t fare much better when we sang the Star Spangled Banner (though my inner feminist beamed when the Girl Scouts raised the flag and led the singing of the national anthem. I hope that they continue to be involved in the festivities and not just on major anniversaries!). I felt so much gratitude in my heart for this beautiful country we live in, and for the many privileges and opportunities that have been mine for having been born here. I have faith in the good that lies in each of us, despite the loud doomsday voices from the left and right that shout down at the rest of us.
The final, pleading refrain from America the Beautiful came to mind: America! America! God shed His grace on thee, And crown thy good with brotherhood, From sea to shining sea.
Amen to that.