It's customary after July 4th to write something profound about independence, freedom, or America. I'll leave that to others. Let me clearly and simply stipulate here that I love my country and am eternally grateful for the opportunities it provides and to those who protect our freedoms.
Instead, I'm going to write about fireworks.
Why do we love them so much? After all, they're pretty much the same, year after year. When you were a kid, maybe you got one of those Red Devil or Black Cat home fireworks sets (always trying to talk Dad into spending just a little more on the bigger box). These days as adults, we watch professional pyrotechnicians set off massive displays. Either way, there's not a lot of mystery. We know what sparklers are going to look like. We know that the municipal fireworks show will feature colorful blooms of flame exploding high in the sky, with the kaboom reaching our ears a second later.
Even so, fireworks have the power to make each of us children again, to transport us back to an age of upturned wonder-struck faces. I think the reason is simple: there's no back story. We're not required to attach some tiresome significance to fireworks, like so much else in our lives. They're beautiful, loud, and just a little dangerous. For a few minutes, we crane our necks, smile and say, "Cool."
We could all do with a little more wonder, couldn't we? Less parsing of the underlying meaning of everything and more wide-eyed appreciation of the marvels of the people we work with, the place we live or the things we can do? That's mindfulness.
How could you find a little more wonder in your life?