Naturally, I started Independence Day off with a bang.
A few months ago the squirrels broke our birdfeeder, and we replaced it with another model called the “Squirrel Be Gone.” How it works is when the animal clings to one of the perches, its weight causes the food slot to close.
Despite the birdfeeder’s design, a chipmunk managed to hang upside down from the top with its head fully submerged inside one of the slots.
Nearby stood a wheelbarrow, and perched on the handle was a gray thrush staring intently at the marauder chowing down on its food supply.
Suddenly the bird attacked the chipmunk, repeatedly lunging and pecking at the thief that withstood the thrashing for a while. The feeder rocked and clanged as they battled.
Then the chipmunk let go, landed upright and scampered off into the woods in defeat; and the thrush had breakfast. All the while I laughed hysterically.
Pulling myself away from the window, I went back to preparing the pasta salad on the menu for the annual gathering at the summer place.
Driving to Tiverton, I realized that I have spent every holiday since childhood at the beach house; and the trappings of the celebration have always included sea, sky and spirituality.
There are no marching bands and fireworks here, only the sound of the crash and fall of the waves, the cry of gulls, the music of laughter as children play in the surf.
The clan arrives, and just like our fellow Americans, we fire up the grill and feast on hot dogs and hamburgers along with an abundance of side dishes.
Then our family and friends walk to the beach. The sea breeze is cool, conditioning the hot, humid air.
Back at the summer house, they set up the volleyball net, and play game after game, only stopping for a cone of chocolate ice cream.
One by one we take our leave.
As I drive away, I thank God for another fabulous Fogland Fourth and for our country and the freedoms we enjoy.
The “Litany For Liberty” prayer says it best:
“O God, Who gave one origin to all peoples and willed to gather from them one family for Yourself, fill all hearts, we pray, with the fire of Your love and kindle in them a desire for the just advancement of their neighbor, that, through the good things which You richly bestow upon all, each human person may be brought to perfection, every division may be removed, and equity and justice may be established in human society.”