Well, that was a change! Ordinarily I prefer to spend the Fourth of July hunkered down with the air conditioner on high, doing my best to comfort the cats while mentally snarling at the yahoos all around with their pointless bottle-rockets and cherry-bombs. One year I even wrote a pretty dark poem about it.
But this time good old friends called at the last minute and transported me to the art museum at Crystal Bridges, where we caught the last chance to admire the William Paley Modernist collection. Followed by a fireworks display; one friend said it was “eyegasmic.” In a gentle sweet evening that could have been summer in New England, instead of a typically brutal Arkansas July. And then, instead of wasting an hour gridlocked in traffic, we spaced out, mesmerized, under the BuckyBall. My dad would have loved this. He was a great fan of Buckminster Fuller.
The cats? I left my i-Pod on for them. When I got back they greeted me cordially enough. So I guess / hope they were OK.
So, this morning, a happy household. The good friends, and all that beauty and splendiferousness . . . and one more thing. It can be mighty lonely, marooned as we are in an outpost college town in Arkansas, enjoying this world-class art museum but otherwise surrounded by an inland ocean of militarism, jingoism, and intolerance. Last night the announcer repeatedly asked those who had served in the armed forces to stand and be honored; played the signature tunes of the five branches of the military; and there my friends and I were, remembering Vietnam and how all this July 4th firepower catapults into PTSD many of those who have served in active duty, all through this current agony in which we have been bleeding since September 11th. And I did not appreciate the country music blasting at blow-out decibels, one particularly violent number especially not. My friends missed the lyrics, good for them. Unfortunately I caught them.
So the good in all this?
Well for one thing, by amazing chance I ran into another close friend, in all that crowd. And this reminded me that I have friends who have family in the military, and they are proudly serving in quite interesting ways that are not reflected in the prevailing culture.
And for another, a little mental gymnastics. I imagined that those veterans who did stand up at the fireworks, who weren’t catapulted into PTSD, could stand in for those who have suffered. Those who were not there, possibly somewhere else with the air turned up high to drown out the assault. Those who were there, standing up for those who could not be there. And as for the offensive music – and really, by the way, what is with playing music over fireworks?? you’re supposed to feel the blast in your diaphragm, and hear the roar of the crowd over all that – Healed, this morning.
See why, with this wonderous clip on YouTube . . . . fireworks filmed from the inside, shot by a drone, accompanied by Andrea Bocelli singing Con te Partiro. Now this is what drones should be for. Thank you, Andrea.
When you are far away I dream the horizon and words fail me
And yes, I know that you are with me, with me
You, my moon, are here with me
My sun, you are here with me, with me, with me, with me.
P.S. Oh dear . . . Andrea is gone, replaced by some tekno-rock. Too bad!! I’m guessing copyright problems, because the version with Bocelli seems to have been taken down altogether. I wish this hadn’t happened, because it was SO glorious with Andrea . . . Try watching the video muted, and opening Andrea in a separate tab, here.