July 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

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The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet. He is supported on crutches, but lacks so much support of the muscle. He has got a fine Geneva watch, but he has lost the skill to tell the hour by the sun. A Greenwich nautical almanac he has, and so being sure of the information when he wants it, the man in the street does not know a star in the sky. The solstice he does not observe; the equinox he knows as little; and the whole bright calendar of the year is without a dial in his mind. His notebooks impair his memory; his libraries overload his wit; the insurance-office increases the number of accidents.

Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1841

 

Last year we went camping for 4th of July at Mississippi Palisades State Park. It rained both days but it was lovely at night.

In fact, it was a bit magical. 

One night (3 or 4AM?) we walked past a few RVs on the way to the bathroom. The moon was nearly full earlier in the evening but had set now, lulling the cricket chirps to bed. The pitch-black sky floated a handful of clouds obscuring the little twinkling stars lightyears in the distance. The night was peaceful and quiet with campers asleep in their sleeping bags and a couple illuminated signs humming along. A gentle breeze made it the perfect kind of chilly.

As we neared a clearing I spotted millions of fireflies intensely lighting up a large tree on a hill like minute fireworks. I’ve never seen fireflies gathered so densely or so high up in a tree. From a distance they looked like tiny glittering berries. I stopped and realized that standing in the clearing I was enveloped by many bushes and trees silently sparkling with fireflies. I felt engulfed in the peaceful beauty of nature. I wish I had a photograph but instead it’s preserved as a beautiful memory. 

Enjoy your 4th of July out-of-doors, in nature, with friends. :)

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