Wednesday, July 6, 2011

in the summertime.

My official summer break made its arrival a few days ago, and I couldn't be happier. Since the spring semester ended, I continued my time behind the four walls further known as a "class room" for the months of May and June. Three classes later, I have completed a Shakespeare class (I didn't want to have to write that), a creative writing class, and an art history class exploring landscape and land art. All to say, my feet are more than ready to trek the life fantastic after those two months.

So far, I've gone hiking in 98 degree heat with friends when the air quality was at its worst during that week. We survived this outing even though we nearly melted our faces off, and wished we had been near even a mere trifle of a waterfall. I suppose we couldn't have a glorious view of the Magic City and have a gushing flow of water atop "Mount Everest." I believe we all agreed that the next time we go hiking at this place it will not be when it's almost 100 degrees. Is it evident that much that I love autumn and winter more? Thankfully the trails were fairly shady. My friend and I have plans of many other excursions, and I'm more than excited about these travel aspirations.

I have been trying to get myself in shape again for more 5K's. I ran my last one in April after several weeks of running (getting myself in the groove again), and then did not run at all for almost two months. So, my feet have been hitting the path again in hopes of gaining some progress in my distance and speed.

This summer I'd like to:

take a trip to Nashville for the Sara Groves concert.
visit various places for hiking, swimming, rafting, and photographing.
run in at least one race.
make more art.
write more.
read what I want.
go for a picnic.
practice piano.
have tea with friends.
catch lightning bugs and set them free.
go on an annual summer visit to 'Mr. Vulcan.'
and anything else that strikes my fancy...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I Lift My Lamp Beside the Golden Door

There is something remarkable about the colors
that are flown from house fronts and describe
who we are as individuals. What do these
hues of sacrifice in stripes and stars mean
to you, me, them, or anyone? It is an unmatched
mark and a pride of patriotism carried out
to the end of time, for generations to come.

Freedom means someone before me, beside me,
and in front of me knows that a price must be paid
for the perseverance of liberty. We have rights
that represent our freedoms and shine through
our fields of glory. From our borders, to our fifty states, the soil of our nation has been enriched by the hands of the huddled masses.

Every 4th day of July we contemplate what it means
to have independence. What tangible principle can we
hold unto in our hardened hearts and greedy hands?
Have we strayed too far from the spirit and truth
of what it means to be a citizen of this country?
Are we too far gone from the burning lamp
that the men before us set as our cornerstone?

We have lost sight of what it means to live here;
our bitterness and our discomforts have replaced
our hearts of patriotism. We scorn our opposing
politicians, and laugh when they struggle; where are
our hands when they need our help? We substitute
respect for mockery and impropriety, and question
why our country is at odds with its people.

Consider the men who sacrifice so much for us.
They are protecting our freedom, our liberty,
and our stars of white and stripes of red. I see
a man without an arm, a man with no legs, a
field of crosses inscribed with the names who left
their hearts in our soil, and I see the many men
who raised our flag of pride on that foreign shore.

It is an honor to proclaim that this is my birth land;
to understand what it means to carry red, white,
and blue in my heart; to believe what our men do
is an example of our brotherhood; to know how it feels
to stand before Lincoln in all his magnificence
and comprehend the truth “and that government
for the people, by the people, shall not perish from this earth.”

When my feet trod the paths from the east to the west, and from the north to the south, my eyes see things that inhabitants of this country appreciate, identify, and understand. From the faces of Rushmore, to the green of Mount Vernon, to Liberty’s torch, and to the sound of the waves rushing in the Atlantic, images of this free land are ever-fixed on the hearts of every man, woman, boy, and girl. What simple pleasure to hear the clinks coins make, and read “In God we trust.”

What does it mean to be an American?

(written in June 2011.)