We drove down a street lined with tall trees, expansive green lawns, and gardens full of roses and tiger lilies. Along the way, neighbors were hanging red, white, and blue bunting and putting small flags near sidewalks and under trees.
The weather was cooler because of a storm earlier in the day so the windows of the car were down and we could hear people talking, laughing, against a background evensong of bird and cicada. We breathed in the sharp, green, fresh smell of earth after a rain.
The early evening was too fine to head home so we wondered neighborhood after neighborhood, all peaceful, beautiful – bordered with homes displaying some form of red, white, and blue.
People were out and about, walking and playing, and as we slowly passed most looked up and smiled at us – on this night at least, the distrust and wariness of strangers was momentarily forgotten, lost in the spirit of the holiday.
In these surroundings, I was forcefully reminded that the heart of this country is not based in tall buildings or found in the actions of the powerful and rich; it exists in the simple neighborhoods, among the quiet people.
“I love this town”, I said.
My roommate concurred.
“Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a home here?”
He turned to me and smiled. “Sure. And you could chat with your neighbors about your views on the Pledge of Allegience as you’re putting out the flags.”
Well, yes. There is that.
Happy 4th of July everyone.