Sunday, July 5, 2009

Oh, lighten up!

So, the 4th of July fireworks – love ‘em! But what threatened to totally distract me last night? A late-arriving member of the family near us in the field brought along the family dog. Geez. Why do people insist on this togetherness with companion animals on the perfectly wrong occasions, when the animals could suffer?

PETA’s recent email alert repeated the old reminder: animals have much more sensitive ears than we do, and proximity to fireworks can hurt them – if the animals don’t panic first, possibly bolting and being injured while running away from the unaccustomed sound and light.

So lucky little “Coco” arrived in time for the show . . . and well before it began, she was barking. The crowd, the kids running in circles, screaming and waving their light ropes and necklaces, the overall hubbub. Weirdly enough, during the fireworks, I didn’t hear a thing from her. (Maybe the show was comparatively restful!)

And then my mind wandered to the creatures inhabiting Centennial Lake on the Rider campus. What did the ducks and other residents make of the fireworks – or vice versa? And how about the myriad birds all over, including in the line of trees between us and the campus?

Then, finally, I said to myself “Lighten up! Enjoy the fireworks! You’re off duty!” And so I was, and did.

High July (a tanka)

fireflies and fireworks --
night-time opposites, they de-
light both low and high:

floating upward, noiselessly,
or exploding down, in sound.

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