Reflections on America’s Birthday

This year, on July 4th, our neighbors really outdid themselves. They used a large, temporary painter’s scaffold to shoot various things in the air–wonderful colors and sparkly things–for nearly an hour, maybe more. It was better than many professional shows we’ve seen over the years. A few of us sat outside and watched the displays. Which went on all around us. We had revelers up and down the street, a few blocks over and southwest of us too. Everywhere you looked, there was a burst of color lighting the night.

It actually gave me some hope. There are people who will continue to celebrate this country, with all of its strengths and all of its faults. As will I.

Also discovered: I don’t twitch as much when someone throws an M-80 or a Cherry Bomb, as long as I can see it and where it’s going.

It sounded like we were on the edge of a battlefield. Only then it was literally, not just metaphorically. God Bless the USA. I hope we can rediscover unity someday soon. 🇺🇸 Maybe we did, for a little while, in the great big booming birthday celebration we just had.

The Trouble with Nightmares

Nightmares are like earthquakes. They come without warning and leave you shaken. But it’s the aftershocks that cause the greatest anxiety. When does it end or will it just keep coming back?

Waking up after a bad nightmare is similar to waking up in the middle of an earthquake. Your eyes pop open, your heart is racing, and, if feasible, you jump out of bed. You’re awake, you’re alert, all systems go. A nightmare is like a brain betrayal. You thought you were going to get some rest, but not so fast. Boom. No rest for the weary.

Living by the Numbers / Fighting Time

I’m someone who likes to track numbers. Calendar dates, meeting duration, time running, distance. Weight. Number of hours fasting. Or feasting. I’m always looking at goals and percentages too. 60% there. 70%. 80%…

If the scale says I’m up by 7 pounds overnight (and it has, I assure you), it can ruin my day and my mood. It might even result in a dramatic, weepy discussion with the spouse at how “bad” I’ve been. Days where the numbers are “good” are much less dramatic. A mention in passing that I’ve reached a new milestone. A virtual fistbump and a cheer, and on we go!

When I was in college, I took an introduction to Native American spirituality class. The class was taught by an elder from the Anishinabe nation (aka Ojibwe or Sioux). His observation about Europeans stays with me all these years: “You guys like to run things by clocks, by calendars. Indians don’t do that. We like to live in time with the seasons… I like to say, ‘I’m on Indian Time.’” 

My professor was right. I time things, I wear a Fitbit. I post calendars and meetings and spend a whole lot of time on, well, time. I suppose it’s an attempt to stay in control. Of time that is. The older I get, the faster the years go. This leads me to try to squeeze out every minute I can, on running, on fasting, on spending time on pet projects. I’m battling for more time.

The sad part is, though, that time will always win in the end. Eventually, my time will run out.

Photo by Andrey Grushnikov on

Meanwhile, I’m gonna go fill in all those blank spots in my day planner. I’m at about 60% scheduled.

May your day be filled with many things as well–hopefully 80% joy–or better. 

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