It is a legal holiday, a three day weekend celebration which according to the sirens heading out highway 1 yesterday, began sadly, for some.
I am happy to have a three day pause to consider my own ideas on independence, which in the case of the forming of this country seemed to be about fairness and coming together to form a place that benefited the good of the people who came here to create lives in their own way without the burden of the past.
I just finished the book, Tide, Feather, Snow, A Life in Alaska, by Miranda Weiss. She writes beautifully and allows us to feel we, too, live the exploratory dream, and the exploration of what it is to be conservative in our lives and liberal, to find the balance within, and balance it within the society in which we choose to live.
I also read Jeffrey Zaslow's book, The Girls from Ames, A Story of Women & a Forty Year Friendship. I was interested in it because my family came to Ames, Iowa when I was six weeks old. I think I may have been about two when we left for Des Moines. There is now no one left to ask the exact date and it hasn't seemed to matter to me before.
This book is a man looking at the lives of eleven women who are friends. One died at the age of 22, so there are ten. He exclaims over and over on what they share, the honesty, tears, and laughter. I wonder what the book would have been if a woman had written it, had asked to be let in. His point is that friendship is beneficial to our health, hardly arguable I would think, and he seems so astonished at what these women share. He wants to better understand his wife and daughters which is why he undertakes this "journey," and I think for him it is a journey into an alien culture. I almost felt as though I was reading Margaret Mead.
Are men and women so different from each other? How much of that is imposed by how we were raised? He says men get together and talk about sports, poker, work. Women delve into their feelings, speak easily about their bodies, and yet, women can be harsh. This book is also about forgiveness and how without that, these women would not be friends. There has been adjustment, forgiveness, and accommodation in their lives.
For this three days, my intention is independence from rigidity of thought. I want to move my brain cells around and give them a cleanse and a shake. I want to swim in clean inner streams.
I will not get in a car. I have food and I can walk and my neighbors are giving a Fourth of July party so I will wander over there when impulse calls. The fog is doing its usual this time of year game. I've lived here over thirty years and each year the fog plays with whether or not the fireworks will be seen. The warm jackets come out and people sit on the ground in the Headlands with their flasks wondering what they will see, and no matter what, comradeship is the elixir shared.
The fog moves in and out, seemingly more independent and freer than the tides. I have been with the concepts of conservative and liberal of late, seeing where I reverence the past and where I reach to stir a future I don't yet grasp. I suppose the tides might be viewed as conservative, predictable, holding on to a route of the past, and the fog as liberal and probing and willing to try new things. Where can I explore now? Do I want to be drawn in by heat or drop into this valley for cold?
Last night I thought I must have been reading a long time because the moon was in one place and then it was gone, but it was just the fog offering a cape. I, too, play with the veil, choose when and what to see, open my eyes at times and other times, slip into rest, always intending to meet what comes with a beat of peace.
Happy Cultivation of Independence and Planting of Inner Seeds! Happy Fourth of July Eve!!