The 4th of July celebrations I remember as a boy brought a heightened sense of excitement and curiosity to me. Back then, each summer day began with a new adventure and lots of things to learn.
All my time as a boy was spent outside, rubbing shoulders with Mother Nature. Rarely a night passed that we weren't outside until bedtime. I learned to appreciate the wild things of the night and was happy they were a part of my life. Each day started with a sense of excitement and curiosity but when the carnival came to town on the 3rd and 4th of July, that excitement rose several degrees.
I couldn't wait to spend my hard earned money from baling hay and mowing lawns. The truth is, I never felt guilty about spending my money on something that was so darn much fun. Besides, after the cash was gone, there was still a good ballgame to watch, followed by the magical fireworks display.
As a young boy of five or six, I have memories of a huge parade which seemed to last forever, with marching bands and clowns who gave me candy and balloons. They are the same memories that today's five and six year olds will have. I remember the excited anticipation while I sat on a blanket in the park, on a hillside covered by large oaks, next to the lake. I was the perfect place to watch the fireworks. When they would explode above the lake, they would cast their colorful, glowing reflections in the water. What kid doesn't remember their first firework display? For me they were full of wonder far greater than anything I'd ever seen.
Even as a little kid I couldn't help wondering whether the loud, bright fireworks put fear in the hearts of the wild things. Even today when I hear fireworks I think of the deer who must surely think the guns of autumn are after them again. There's no doubt in my mind that the wild birds and animals must find the firework displays a very unsettling experience.
This July 4th, I spent a quiet evening on the back porch, listening to the crickets and watching a beautiful show of fireflies.
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