Thick with tourists, the traffic was despicable, but we managed to find a parking spot on a ledge near the road at Newfound Lake.
Amid the typical Fourth of July chaos, my three young children and I watched the fireworks. It was a big deal because I usually performed as a professional trumpet player on a bandstand somewhere. That day, I had played earlier.
After about twenty minutes of the festivities, I had decided.
“Come on, let’s go.” I started packing up the jeep.
“They aren’t over yet!” The protests began.
“But I know where the real finale is, and we can beat the traffic.”
We drove by the masses as they craned their necks up towards the sky, oblivious to the locals who were wildly leaving before the climactic ending. Within a few moments, we were close to home. Rocks kicked up, pinging against the fenders in our dust trail until we reached the bottom of the road partway up the mountain.
We arrived at one of my favorite spots. The tourists would die if they knew about this slice of heaven overlooking the valley to another ridge of mountains in the distance. The kids gasped when I turned off the road and drove the jeep into the field. I grabbed a blanket.
They got out of the car; mouths dropped open, hushed.
“This is the real finale. God’s finale.” I spread out the blanket on the grass.
Together, in awe, we watched thousands of fireflies dance upon the tall blades of golden grass in the field, glittering, sparkling, and twinkling as far as the eye could see. I lost track of time. We finally left when little Anna—nestled into me, twirling the curl at the end of her braid, looking through it like a monocle—was almost asleep. She always did that.
THAT WAS THEN ~ THIS IS NOW
Sometimes I dream of a better world. Yeah, it’s cliche, but I’m an active dreamer. Seriously. I did this last night. I dreamed of patching up bloody, wounded squirrels, chipmunks, and some small critter that I invented—it was cute, a little like a muskrat or something—all the way up to bears. They were all barely alive and ripped to shreds. All I could think was, what have we done?
We can begin by not judging each other and taking time to think before acting and speaking. We might ponder every thought, word, or action and consider the possible outcomes. We can choose to be fully awake or snooze through it all.
I hold you in my thoughts. We can do this, I think.
My fireworks have wings and fly around in the fields and out by the pond. Meanwhile, where are my earplugs?