Fourth of July Holy DayPosted: July 3, 2010
Fourth of July weekend. Most bloggers hang up their keyboards and head straight to the nearest vacation spot. Or the not so nearest. My wife is now in Kingston, Jamaica spending time with her mother.
Traditionally, I have stayed home on July 4th weekend. Although it is a nice idea to take off, I have found the places I go, to be crowded with what I am trying to get away from. In Woodstock, NY, they have to bring out the traffic cops because of the volume of cars that enter the small and usually quiet town on the holiday. But here in Brooklyn, it is quiet and peaceful. When I had a car, July 4th was a weekend where you could park anywhere in New York City.
As summer now unfolds in its full glory, and a hint of the crickets humming in the morning lets me know exactly how terminal this time is, it becomes harder for me to stay on subject. School is closed, and my son seeks out activity wherever he can find it. And as we are sans wife/mom, it is kind of a father/son bachelor holiday for us.
Also the intensity of this particular economic nightmare has been weighing on us. Many people around here are either totally unemployed with benefits running out, or like me, what has come to be called around here, “marginally” employed. The advertising world of which I have been a reluctant part of for over 30 years, just keeps dissolving, leaving me to search in new directions. This could be a good thing. As it is better to do something you want to do, over being forced to something you do not. This blog is an example of striking out in a new direction. The only problem is that my landlord does not accept my good intentions as payment.
But it is an interesting time, and I find it funny that I should sit here and share some very immediate and intimate thoughts on the flow of my life. This blog is somewhat like an autobiographical magazine. Sometimes I am able and interested in sharing articles, or experiences with democratic education, or the development of our school or just plain ranting on the disparities and lack of education values in the world. But today is different. Today, I tap at the keys for no other reason than to express the mysterious feelings that lurk behind my thoughts, behind my concerns, behind my worries. All the while hoping to have a glimpse of what the next chapter might look like. Where is this story going? Beats me.
Last year, on this very weekend, my landlord and his family graced us with getting all of his family into a van (they are 7 plus the creepy son-in-law-to-be) and leaving us alone for the weekend. This is highly unusual for them as they never seem to go anywhere, and when they do, they always leave someone behind. Someone is always stuck to this house like glue. As if they are worried that they cannot trust the tenants who support their sorry existence, a moments peace and stillness. They are a noisy bunch. But on that weekend, we were finally alone. And as I stepped out on the porch of my Brooklyn home, with my guitar in hand, hoping to play for the nature that was all around me, I was affronted by an unsightly vision. It seems that the only people working that weekend were the antique dealers on the corner. And the guy who would park his ugly truck in front of the hydrant, in front of our home, week after week, was the lone guy working this weekend. He had pissed on my bliss.
I asked him to find another place for his grafitti decorated truck to some other location on the main strip. That if he did not, other actions would follow. That his presence in front of our house was no longer welcomed and that in essence, he was disturbing the peace. Especially MY peace.
He moved for about two weeks, and then he came back again, as if I wouldn’t notice. Several calls to 311 helped to finally dislodge him from in front of the house. A ticket for parking in front of a hydrant can be a great motivator as to why you should not park there.
So here I am a year later. The quiet just oozes through my window. Only one air conditioner stubbornly hums in what appears to be a beautiful and temperate day. Noah sleeps on the bed behind. We hope to scratch together a little cash and go out to see Toy Story 3 today or tomorrow. Believe it or not, my back window is audience to some of the most beautiful song bird singing I have heard anywhere. Living an eighth of a mile from Prospect Park helps in this regard.
The word holiday is a combination of Holy Day. It is hard to connect a war victory and a reading the Bill of Rights, which we are not sure if we still have—to the word “holy.” But somehow in the quiet desires of my feelings, there is a sense of “holy.” Sitting here in my own space and searching for the right words is a quest for holiness. It goes beyond the fantasy of religion, to touch the reality of the moment. There is a struggle in me to strip down my beliefs, my daydreams, to a bare a sensitive and naked soul. To open to a true feeling of “wholiness” and somehow wrest the future from the grip of knowing what “will” happen and just let what is, be. And thus keep the window open to whatever flies in.