Monday, July 4, 2011


  I was awakened around midnight by early fireworks from the house below.  They sounded like bombs, which set me thinking about patriotism in its worst forms, its attitudes, actions, and even its bumper stickers.  But more about that later.

 I love the principles upon which this country was founded, even though I know that large groups of people were left out of the frounders' vision--Native Americans and African slaves chief among them.  We have widened the hoop of our democratic vision to include them, though the racism that tainted our past still haunts us.  And Native Americans still remain by and large invisible in our culture.

I love the vast landscape of this magnificent country.  Seeing some  of it from the air has intensified that awe,  that love of place that we all should cherish.  Below,  I watched Mount Hood and Mount Adams rise up out of the clouds as I flew toward Portland, Oregon two years ago.

I love the cities where people can come together and share their culture, their art, their music, and I particularly love San Francisco, with its legacy of tolerance and dissent.

I especially love the world famous Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista bar and restaurant on Fisherman's Wharf!

And I love the religious freedom that we enjoy in this country.  Freedom of Religion, or no religion, is hardwired into our American way of life.   Here, a group of Indian/Muslim -Americans celebrate being citizens and singing about their patriotism, not their "terrorism."  They were dancing to Bollywood music!  Long live Freedom of Speech and Assembly, with  some Bollywood and Bluegrass thrown in for good measure!  

 This beautiful mosque on our walk back to our hotel always impressed me with its elegance.

I love the cultural diversity of our country.   Even crowded Chinatown!

Back home now by the Tuckasegee River, looking at the  seemingly indestructible coneflowers at the edge of our garden, I let myself brood on what is indestructible in our communities and our nation, realizing  how fragile things can be, how what seems to be lasting can suddenly become threatened, and how, in order to earn  our patriotism, we must keep working to make sure that our government of, by, and for the people remains vibrant and visionary.  That the hoop keeps expanding to allow that vision to become reality.


  1. Beautiful post, Kay. We've come a long way ... and there's still a ways to go.

  2. The mountains, and the people, are long-suffering but both need help to endure.

  3. Thanks, Deni and Helen. Val, the mountain people are long-suffering and sometimes it's hard for them to admit that they need help to endure. The forces working against them now grow larger and more powerful. Against all of us, really. Our oldest mountains have endured for so long, but the pressures are growing. This is a topic I want to write about in more detail.
    Vicki, I remember something I heard at a fiction reading many years ago; the author said "The key to the journey is the journey." The "ways to go" is the kernel of truth, I guess; you never really reach the destination but you can journey toward it. And must.

  4. Hello Kay-I found your blog searching for poetry open mics in the Blue Ridge, Ga area. I'm very new to these southern mountains, just signed the paperwork on my house yesterday, down from Chicago. "Back to the basics, the digging..." as your friend said. Love the flower pictures. Looking forward to reading more.

  5. Donna, thank you for dropping by. I hope you will come back soon.

  6. Kay,
    I love your new blog. The photos are splendid and I enjoyed this posting about the 4th of July very much.