I am a bit morose, though I was at a lovely July 4 party yesterday and thereafter got a lot of rest and sleep. Things will perk up soon (I hope) when I get down to some writing that has been hanging over my head. I have always been cranky during gestation periods for pieces of writing, since my school days of writing essays in France, but I keep forgetting this. After about three hours of thinking and writing, I shall go and hear Midori play the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra and the orchestra play Sibelius's Symphony No. 5, which I'm not sure I've ever heard live. Got a freebie from a friend, and the festival's headquarters are right on our campus.
I think part of the morose mood is that I really do not like North Carolina in the summer. Correction: I do not like being in North Carolina in the summer. North Carolina is as rich and friendly as it ever was, but my body is not happy here in the muggy weather, especially after this difficult and stressful year on the job, and this is the longest I've spent here in the summer months since moving here a little under three years ago. Some writing and other projects requiring local resources are keeping me here for much of the summer. Otherwise, I'd be somewhere else. A quick overview of last summer's blogging reminds me that I was in the Bay Area for a month (which I already remember -- every day when I step outdoors) but also that I was in the Boston area for the July 4 holiday, which I had forgotten.
Last year on this date...
A July 5 post about the Fourth in Boston, with information on the multiracial Boston Children's Chorus.
Which leads me to admit that I love looking at fireworks but hate the sound of them. They remind me of guns and bombs, and there is no way around it. The sound scares me, as does the sound of firecrackers, near and far. And I haven't even seen combat. My friend JohnieB, however, has, and if you have not already seen his post on why he doesn't enjoy fireworks, have a read. And honor veterans, however you might feel about war. Some of them are proud of their service, others are ashamed, still others have a mix of both feelings, but none return from war unscathed. My father, a decorated World War II Marine veteran (and a gentle, kind, man who has been an advocate for peace for the last several decades) was still having war nightmares a decade or two ago, more than a generation after the fact. For all I know, he may still have them.
Meanwhile, as a present to our troops, the Pentagon has extended the tour of duty in Afghanistan for 2,200 Marines, after declaring that they would come home on time. Kyrie Eleison.
A quick visit to titusonenine, where I don't go much, leads me to tip my summer straw hat in thanks for the link they provide to NPR's reading --with the written text too-- of the Declaration of Independence. (Click on "listen now" once you get to the page.) I re-read the Declaration every July 4, but received it in a new and more powerful way by hearing it this time, while also looking at the words, divided into small paragraphs for closer attention. Whew.
Also nice to hear, while listening, that some people still have good diction. (As a teacher and preacher, I am in despair over the mumbling that passes for speech these days, especially among young people. Oh Godde, that does it, I have officially become a Snooty Old Fuddy-Dud. No wonder I am grumpy.)
My friend Algernon, the Zen Buddhist actor/writer/dharma teacher/new father has a link up to True Patriotism: An Independence Day Reflection," courtesy of The Carpetbagger Report.
For a little July 4 levity, janinsanfran has put up an image that made me chuckle when I saw it yesterday. I sent the link to Beloved and Only Sibling of Acts of Hope, who lives in the country where the original of the sculpture is located.
For more levity with a little seriousness thrown in, the one and only Padre Mickey, hagiographer extraordinaire, brings us the Feast of St. Independence Day.
The Episcopal Café, in its Daily Episcopalian column this weekend, offers a Benedictine-influenced musing on independence and interdepence.
Many years ago, feminists and other peace advocates were taking the opportunity to issue a Declaration of Interdependence on this holiday. There are other such Declarations, too -- more than I realized. They date back at least to 1933 and 1944.
Finally, The Cunning Runt has written a fine letter to his (and my) country, the United States of America.
I think of these United States, of our citizenship, of war and peace, of my far-flung family in the U.S., Italy, Portugal, and Turkey, of my friends-as-family here and in France and other parts of the world, and of the creatures on this fragile earth, our island home. And I think of the earth itself, surviving, it sometimes seems, miraculously, given all that we do to assault and destroy it.
And now that I have procrastinated patriotically for an hour, I am off to a room with no internet connection, to think, read, write, and remember that I am a theologian. Peace to all.