I slept through dawn, and rose when the alarm that I had forgotten to unset jarred me from a deep and dreamless state. Out on my porch, clutching a mug of coffee, I rocked in the little blue rocker that I carried home from Angel’s Camp. I contemplated the meaning of Independence Day. I did not raise a flag this year. I haven’t for quite some time. My conviction that this nation welcomes me and mine has long since been shaken.
At noon I joined my neighbors in the perennial outdoor event. We hauled tables outside under the shade. We hoisted umbrellas to insure the safety of the fragile among us from the harshness of the summer sun. Burgers sizzled on the grill and fruit chilled over ice. A lady from B-Row brought her Stars-and-Stripes. We duct-taped the pole to a wooden fence post. The delta wind unfurled its width. We stood in silence, each with our own contemplation about God, and country, and absent friends.
Someone called her DJ sweetheart and music flowed across the meadow. Dishes piled on the serving table. Each person filled a plate, grabbed a drink, and found a spot. More neighbors came. A pop-up rose in the space of lawn beside the pool. A wild game of Corn-hole commenced alongside a modified, tame “Beer Pong” tournament, its cups filled only with clear cool water and no shared gulping required. A cork popped from a bottle. Laughter flowed.
As the afternoon waned, I said my goodbyes, hugged my co-organizer, and drove around the gravel circle to my home. I ended the day as it had begun — quietly rocking, eyes cast upward, gazing into the vibrant green of the trees rising into the summer sky. My spirit stilled. Some kind of peace eased into my soul. As the light began to fade on the western horizon, I watched the blackbirds dance on the outstretched branches. I sighed, and felt a rush of joy course through my body. That precise moment held everything. I had no need of anything other than the grace which surrounded me.
It’s the fourth day of the one-hundred and fifteenth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.
With the end of June and the dawn of July, I celebrate the anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act by choosing the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund as my charity-of-the-month. To learn more about my fundraising efforts and/or purchase my book, click here.