We returned home from a great day with family on the water, in the grass, on the patio, celebrating the Fourth of July, to our home smack dab in the middle of an Independence Day smack down.
Our neighbors stood on the sidewalk, smiling, eyes like bowls, sparkling hands welcoming us as we pulled up to the curb, while on both ends of our block huge jet-propelled chemical cocktails soared into the air and exploded in purples, yellows, greens, whites.
Too-young boys lit enormous fireworks, ran toward us full-throttle as if they themselves might explode, often missing all the action behind them, rubbing their eyes from gray clouds of smoke and asking for another lighter.
Between the shows on either end of 8th Avenue, we cheered and jumped, laughed and clung to each other. Stars shot through black blue sky, screaming their colors before singed paper clumps rained.
Yesterday morning, I walked through the piles of plastic, cardboard casings and smoke trails on pavement — the remnants of the July 4th insanity — and thought of all the noise and sparkle reduced to this. And I felt like I was looking at scraps of used-up Christmas paper and found myself asking in the same lost way, What’s next?
What do I need to gear up for now?
After the big birthday party and the speaking and the first two trips out of town and tennis camp and the Fourth of July, I can’t seem to help but look ahead to the next big thing.
The next adventure. The next trip. The next birthday. The next excitement. Like I’ve got to know what’s coming so it doesn’t sneak up and rain sparks on me. Or maybe like I need to know there’s something more to look forward to.
But what about the lazing, in these being days of summer?
What about the hang out on the sidewalk in front of the house and discover who you’ll find?
What about the friend who scooters barefoot down the street when she sees you or the one who might want to color in chalk or run with you to the tree and dangle from it with her strong arms? Or the one who might want to share some laughs and drinks on the front porch?
What about the backyard and that mysterious space where watering vegetables, rescuing bugs and playing pool noodle-javelin meet, and they create an explosion of their very own?
What about all those?
The annual and the one-time-only. The parade-worthy and the unnoticed. The riot of color and the hint of blue on berries still ripening.
Some moments snap-pop under feet, some sparkle from hands clenched, some soar and blow up in screeches, squeals and color.
And some — some moments are the space between the oooohhs and ahhhhs.