Monday, July 4, 2011

Hey, it's the 4th of July

My 4th of July this year was significantly better than it was last year. Mostly because, I didn’t have to work a part-time retail job on the days surrounding it effectively killing all excursion potential and reducing me to watching movies alone on my couch because everyone was out of town. No, this year was filled with friends and void of work, where one of the best things is the cook-out. I’m a sucker for burgers and my friends make some of the best (yet another plus to being friends with guys with grills).

It is a day of good food, drink, and, my personal favorite, sparklers. Contrary to, hopefully, unpopular belief, they are not childish but in fact integral parts of an Independence Day celebration. Those metal sticks getting hotter and hotter as the wildly sporadic and very incendiary sparkles get closer and closer to your fingers. That’s the stuff birthdays are made of. I sadly don’t have any photos of sparklers this year, but they are important enough to warrant mentioning in this post.

One aspect of this year that was wildly different from any other 4th I’ve experienced, were watching the DC/Mall fireworks from the rooftop of an apartment. Every resident and friend of a resident were sardined onto the patio an hour before the first firework in hopes that they would be able to snag a spot that didn’t include a 6’+ dude standing directly in front of you. We were pretty lucky to have found a spot close to the edge and I, being on of the shortest of the group, was also lucky enough to slide even closer to the front as most everyone could still see over my head.

The really lucky people, however, were those in the tower next door that had sunrooms facing out to the river. They were able to stand, un-sardined and crowded and unobstructed in their air conditioned apartment while watching the fireworks. I would call that an unfair advantage, my friend would call that a need to get different friends with better views. Clearly I need to be more social this next year so that I can have a better vantage point for 2012. Tick*tock*

Regardless of my firework viewing location though, they were just as beautiful as ever and pleasantly only caused me to jump a handful of times. (Em = easily startled. Use this knowledge wisely.) It was unfortunately soundtrack-less, unless you count the smarta**es playing Party in the USA on their iPhones, which I don’t, but like I said before, still beautiful. I hope everyone had a great 4th with family and/or friends and paused for at least a moment to hum a line from 1776. “I say vote yes, vote yes, vote for independency…”

Happy Independence Day!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

White Rapids and Brick Towns

So I don’t know about you, but I love white water rafting. And after this amazing trip, I have officially gone twice. Practically an expert, right? Well, at least I didn’t fall out. The first time was the summer before high school with my Girl Scout troop, yep Girl Scouts. The Rocky Mountains in Colorado meet tweenagers from Illinois, GO! Ha. I remember being entirely drenched by the end and fearing for my life the majority of the time but still, it was awesome. Flying down the river with white waves lapping up the side of a seemingly flimsy rubber raft definitely gets the adrenalin pumping.

This time was a slightly different story, I’m older for one, though not more coordinated, calmer waters, sitting at the front of the raft (not my idea), and a significantly larger group but the biggest difference was me completely not thinking about what rafting actually entails (namely getting wet and sitting out in the sun for hours) and forgetting to wear a swimsuit and sunscreen. Opps. This time was (occasionally) flying down the scattered rapids, while having thoughts of a nice life jacket burn and a wet car ride home buzz around the back of my mind.

We did luck out however, on the wet clothes part at least, as the major sunburn for both of us could not be helped. The historical little town of Harpers Ferry, WV just so happened to be a few mins away so we jumped in the car after our water ride and set out to dry out while exploring a living piece of history.

One of my favorite parts of living on the East coast is the old winding road that ends up in an equally as old and winding town. It’s like driving back in time. I loved how the buildings grew together and how the stone steps have learned to bend under the feet of so many years. Every corner has a texture or a detail of how things used to be and I find that entirely mesmerizing. It makes me feel small and it makes me slow my step, feeling literal weight on my shoulders and in my chest to run back into time. Feeling insignificant or spoiled to have benefited to all that time has discovered but at the same time honored and challenged to become a part of what time has yet to discover. I’m certainly not going to build a city but I could just maybe carve a detail on a street of a time, now wouldn’t that be something good.