i hear america singing

by pieces of moments

{Walden Pond, Concord, Massachusetts}

. . .

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear;

Those of mechanics—each one singing his, as it should be, blithe and strong;

The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank or beam,

The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work;

The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat—the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck;

The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench—the hatter singing as he stands;

The wood-cutter’s song—the ploughboy’s, on his way in the morning, or at the noon intermission, or at sundown;

The delicious singing of the mother—or of the young wife at work—or of the girl sewing or washing—Each singing what belongs to her, and to none else;

The day what belongs to the day—At night, the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,

Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs.

<< Walt Whitman >>

. . .

The travels continue. I can’t wait to tell you about NYC, though. The show at the Whitney is amazing, and of course, the city is amazing, too. No other place like it on earth. Don’t you just love New York? So, it’s 24 hours here in Chicago, and then off again.

It’s Independence Day very soon. I don’t think the United States gets everything right all the time. In fact, I think we’ve made a lot of collective mistakes. But, technically being an immigrant to this country, myself, and being the daughter of one makes me extremely aware of all the ideals for which our country strives, and at the end of the day, no matter how disgusted I may be by various governmental or political goings-on, I’m very thankful to be a citizen of this country. July 4th is, for me, a summertime fraternal twin of Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for my parents who wanted the best for me and my education enough to move half-way around the world. I’m thankful for my freedoms. I’m thankful for my not-quite-so-all-American-upbringing that gave me an awareness of life beyond our borders. I’m thankful for all my fantastic childhood friends I get to see again this time every year. It’s really amazing to grow up with the same people and still actually be really good friends with them decades later. It’s even more amazing to grow up with what I like to call “friends before birth,” because our parents grew up together, and even our grandparents grew up together. How awesome is that? So thankful.

In that spirit, this year we are all gathering to usher out the end of an era to some extent. Every year, for almost as long as I can remember, we have packed ourselves onto the 10th Street bridge to watch the fireworks by the baseball stadium. Well, they are building a newer, fancier, stadium, and so sitting on the 10th Street bridge will soon become recent history. Over the past couple of decades my friends and I have created countless (hilarious) memories sitting for hours on that bridge. It will be bittersweet to sit and watch the fireworks with them on the bridge for the last time.

But before I head out of town again, how about a little music? Here’s the great American composer, Charles Ives, performing “The Alcotts,” which is the 3rd movement (that somehow always makes my eyes tear up) from his Piano Sonata No. 2, the “Concord Sonata.” During my Bostonian years I loved to head out to Concord. I visited the Alcotts house and frequented Walden Pond as much as possible. Of course, Concord saw the first battle of the Revolutionary War, so it’s fitting for this holiday, no?

So, I wish you a happy Fourth of July. May it be full of things for which to be thankful. May it be safe and joyful.