The Fourth of July has always held a special place in my heart, for a lot of reasons. Let's be honest and say that foremost among those reasons is that it's 3 days before my birthday. So growing up, we often celebrated my birthday on Independence Day. So all those fireworks got to be for me. And back when fireworks were legal all over the place, we'd do little fountains and sparklers and flowers in the front yard before the big she-bang. I even got sparklers on my cake instead of candles some years (tip: don't try blowing out sparklers; it doesn't work). And fireworks involve fire (it's right there in the name) and pretty colors and sparkles. Instant appeal. My nickname is pyrogrl for a reason!
Some years we'd be at a friend's beach house or Lake Tahoe, and nothing beats watching a fireworks show from right on the beach or on the water. Cozied up in sweats thrown over bathing suits, blanket thrown round your shoulders, feet dug down into the sand past the cold top layer and into that lovely still-warm-from-the-day middle layer. Smells of the sea air mixed with beach bonfires and char-grilled food tickling your nose. Huddled together with family and friends, although there's that sunkissed skin under all those layers that still holds some warmth from the day at the beach. Lying back on the sand and watching the fireworks blasting seemingly directly overhead. Hearing the oohs and aahs from the people around you. Ignoring that nagging tired feeling from a full day of sun and playing in the water. How can you keep from smiling at the joy of it all? And in the back of your head, quietly, "everybody's together and having fun for my birthday." Not chuffed at the feeling of it all being for you, but at the thought that you - being you - had something to do with your friends and family being able to experience this with you.
Over the years, my Fourths have been varied and generally more low-key. But I am always pleased when I can spend the day with the people I care about, and somewhere in the back of my head when all those beautiful fireworks are going off, I think that maybe I had a little something to do with bringing joy to others around me.
So yes, wonderful country of ours, I am pleased about our Independence Day. But it's not what I'm thinking about when all those fireworks are going off.