I'm not a poet, but this is what I have to say about the 4th:
It's full of nostalgia --
nostalgia for the smell of fresh-cut grass
and smoke from the grill and Folsom Field fireworks;
for counting the seconds it takes a blaze of light
to become a boom of sound;
for the way sweat in Colorado is never liquid
but appears as salty, fragrant crystals
baked onto your skin;
for the happy shouts and splashes of kiddos cooling off
in the chlorine-blue waters of Spruce Pool;
for trying against all odds
around the edges of the pool;
for the smell of hot ponderosa pines and dry, pink sandstone;
for the synthetic scent of camping gear,
the pillowy, silky skin on hiking blisters,
and the shock of relief when cooling tired feet in a mountain stream;
for the feel of rich dirt
on both worm and fingers
and the anticipation of running those fingers
for the gritty seasoning campfires impart on marshmallows;
for the still-green June foothills slowly roasting to a ruddy August gold;
for the taste of cold juice
and BBQ meats;
for trying to avoid the celery in potato salad;
for the feeling of prickly hot pavement and soothingly cool grass under bare feet
-- and the sting of a soccer ball against them;
for the ten-minute grey-blue thunderstorms that threaten to disperse revelers;
for the sun,
and the fresh wind in their wake.
I miss that America. I don't know if that was America. Maybe it was the 90s. Whatever it was, it felt enormous, happy, and hopeful. I liked it a lot.
On the 4th, I want to give the country the benefit of the doubt and say "I know what you are right now, but I also know what you can be." Why not appreciate that potential? Since I'm too busy eulogizing the past at the moment to think about the future, I'll direct you to a truly beautiful post by Amy G. at Destination Paradise.
On this 4th, please celebrate what America should be.