Independence Day 


People love em or hate em.
I would fall into the latter category.
Mostly for my dogs
who suffer through what has become
two weeks of inexplicable (to them) and random
explosions that go on into the early hours of the morning.

I get it.  Sort of.
People who love them
feel like they deserve the chance
to let loose over this holiday,
be that in celebration of our country
or because it’s fun to blow stuff up.

And so we sit with yet another divide
in this country with a full and rich history
and plenty of division along its path.

I don’t have the answer.
And in the scheme of things
this is but a disturbing annoyance.

It hints, though, at deep differences
that reside within the bounds of our country.
How and how much to consider others
as we pursue life, liberty, and happiness.

Where do lines get drawn?
All of us impact each other, intentionally and otherwise.
All of us would wish for understanding and empathy.

There is no easy way through these intersections.
To share this earth means working hard to understand
what is different and unfamiliar.

It calls for consciousness and hope.
Patience and curiosity.
Humility and a willingness to look deeper
into ourselves and each other.
And it calls for many, many deep breaths.

So, I’ll enjoy my version of fireworks—
the lilies that grew from wrinkled bulbs
into explosions of color just in time for the fourth.

I’ll shut the windows, turn up the music,
and comfort my dogs as best I can with herbal tonics and hugs.
And yes, I’ll snarl at the late night fire crackers
indignant and frankly pissed off
at the lack of consideration for the hour.

It’s the anonymity that makes it feel so alienating.
The “cover” of social media.
The masks we wear—
literal masks or the ones we don
as we walk or drive past the homeless.

I do believe there is common ground.
Things that all of us agree are needed,
from excellent and fair education
to clean air to breathe and water to drink.
The list goes on.

It comes down to something pretty simple…
what kind of world do we want to live in?

What makes it extraordinary
is the day to day courage of attention and action
in order to make it so.


Chris Heeter Signature