Fourth of July

On our walk this morning, a neighbor coming the other way with her poodle paused and gave us a significant look. “The eagle,” she said in a conspiratorial whisper, perhaps so the poodle wouldn’t hear, “is sitting about four feet above the nest. Easy to see his white head.”

This slowed our walk down considerably, trying to remember where the nest was that we hadn’t seen since last summer. But then we heard that screamy call, so like a seagull’s; and then we saw the white head against the sky, and the white tail flicking like a sunglint in shadows.

Happy Fourth of July, national emblem. How’s it going? We still have a country, dire predictions to the contrary notwithstanding. Are we all resilient enough to make it through this era of incivility together? I put American flags out in the yard, red-white-and-blue bunting and garlands hanging from rails and flowerpots. It’s everybody’s country, and it’s everybody’s flag. E pluribus unum.

I’m decorating because we’re having a barbecue. We’ll grill burgers and set out lemonade and iced tea and beer, and in fine Midwestern fashion the guests will all bring contributions to the meal. There will be amazing salads and excessively delicious desserts, and cultural traditions from all over the world will be appropriated. I approve.

And then there will be sparklers. We won’t wait until dark because there will be rapidly-tiring children, and in Michigan on the 4th of July the sun sets at 9:15 and twilight lasts till ten o’clock. Sparklers are bright enough to shine in the late light,Version 2 dancing and twirling across the lawn in hands of all ages.

Then the guests will leave, the sparklers will be replaced by fireflies, and neighbors who go in for noisy fireworks will set them off. I wonder if the eagles are secure enough in their own nests to sleep through it.

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