Dizzy Swallows

Independence

Independence

July 4th, 2010

The sun rises at 6:30. By 7:00, the temperature is pushing 80 degrees. It is for this reason alone that I force myself out of bed no later than 6:00am to go running. The trouble with this, however, is I have never been an early riser. My natural inclination is to wake at the more amiable 7:30am. This has spawned an ongoing battle of wills between my brain and my body. This morning my body won, smiling victoriously as, heavy-lidded, I snuggled deeper into our soft sheets with the fan whirring gently overhead. When I truly woke up around 8am I was determined that clocks would not dictate my life. So what if it was past my usual hour. After nearly two months of Texas heat, I must be at least slightly acclimatized, no? Hey, yesterday I walked all the way to the store and back in jeans. And didn’t pass out.

The air was already spiced with burnt fuses and charcoal briquettes when I stepped outside. I hoped the continued influence of tropical storm Alex (which I understand has now been rather humorously downgraded to “tropical depression Alex” ) would maintain the refreshing breeze and scattered clouds we had so enjoyed yesterday. Jogging happily along at the unfashionable hour of 9am, I was eyed askance by a herd of goats, one skinny burrow and several porch sitters as if they thought I was slightly out of my mind. One granny even pulled her car into the left lane to get a better look at me, no doubt hoping to glean some gossip fodder.

By mile three of my six mile run I was beginning to see their point. The merciless sun reminded me with every step that this was Texas. As if I could forget, I thought, holding my breath against the ripe stink of two armadillo pancakes – only slightly less disturbing than the empty box of shotgun shells a few paces further on. I finished out my run nonetheless, triumphant, dripping sweat and with a sense that all one really needs is determination. Sun, you don’t scare me.

bloody mary polaroid

This afternoon we enjoyed virgin bloody marys (for want of booze in the house) and watched the Fredericksburg 4th of July parade on Main Street. This evening we plan on heading over to Lady Bird Johnson Park for a picnic dinner and fireworks. I intend to have more photos for upload tomorrow. For now, enjoy these delicious little boys.

I had a dream last night that I was hiding in my mother’s bedroom. My eight year old self and five year old brother were with me and I was responsible for their safety. We were barricaded in this bedroom against something evil. Something that wanted to hurt us. The strange part is I have no idea what it was. It never materialized, never smashed through the door. My younger self turned to me and guided me to the window. Throwing both sides open wide to the night air, she smiled at me and tucked a dark viola under her chin. She played the most beautiful sonata, like what “Over the Rainbow” would have been if Debussy had composed it. And it was ok. Fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all.

I am happy to have my independence, and I don’t mean just the national kind. I am happy to have the freedom and flexibility to get up when it pleases me and to make my own choices. There are certainly times when independence is daunting, or downright scary. Fear of failure and fear of the unknown are never far from the surface. But the joy and excitement of being my own boss, and of failing on my terms are never eclipsed by that fear. There was a brilliant quote from this documentary we watched last night that attached itself to my brain: “Fail harder.” If you try and fail with everything you’ve got, hey, who can blame you? If you fail harder than the other guy, isn’t that something?

So fail harder America, and happy birthday.

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