I watched “Hamilton” on the 4th.  It cracked my heart.

I roasted some potatoes (a daring move for me) and mixed up some fruit juice n o one would want to drink, but I was bringing it anyway.

I drove east, from Lawrence to Olathe.  The clouds were as dramatic as opera.  I glimpsed a rainbow.  I drove through a rainstorm.  I pulled my sunglasses down to see if the rainbow was still there.

I may have hallucinated the rainbow.

But seeing a rainbow, whether it’s there or not, well, I will take that rainbow and write it down where others can see it.

I shift between fear of my parents traveling, fear of my parents being infected by kids, fear of being forced to teach in person, fear of my mom being forced to teach in person, fear for my aunt who is ill with a non-covid illness, fear that this will never end, fear that my birthday will be distanced (October), fear that Thanksgiving will be (unthinkable, really) or Christmas will be (unfathomable).

Dream I was in Manhattan, and coming out of subway, and I saw tall buildings, which sometimes triggered panic in me, and I think, I’m not panicky.  I’m okay now.

Dream I am celebrating Bastille Day with Conan O’Brien.  I tell him I am so happy he is the only famous person I met when I moved to LA.

I would never move to LA.

We are so lucky to be able to go see fireworks, almost like a normal Fourth, except we go in separate cars and wear masks.  This is a town with enough space for us to all spread out. We sit on folding chairs, which are now essential supply, as we visit only outdoors.  And one blanket.  I take the blanket and sit criss-cross.

Behind us, residents of those suburban houses on the edge are setting off fireworks, more, and more, and more, the screaming loud ones and the pretty ones, almost as big as professional fireworks.

It’s a lot.  They are close to us.

I ask my niece to pick me some wildflowers.  We are on the edge of the interstate, and the edge of a suburban development that has a walking trail.  We are plopped in the center of that trail.

She says okay, but she does not go until I get up and say, “Come on.”

Thistles and Queen Anne’s lace and tall grass and clover.  I grab a stalk of Queen Anne’s lace and pull.  It doesn’t give up easily.

“Look at the moon!” people say.

“When do the fireworks start?”

This asking of when fireworks begin, and the awkward waiting time, is part of tradition, isn’t it?

I bend and turn the flower’s stem until it gives and separates.

“That one!” my niece says.

She has interpreted my asking for help as asking her to select the flowers I will take.

I did ask her to “pick” some flowers for me.

I follow her direction (why not?) and pick seven stems of Queen Anne’s lace.

“I’m allergic to that,” her mom had said, so I set the picked flowers gently in the grass, a good distance from our camp.

“When you get home, and you put them in a vase, will you take a picture and send it to me?”

“I’ll try to remember,” I say, because promises, right now, seem impossible.

“Why would you forget?”

“Well, you know, things happen.  I just don’t want you to be too sad if I forget to send you the picture tonight.”

“Well, you could set a reminder on your phone,” she suggests.

“I could,” I say, though I don’t, instead I put one stem of Queen Anne’s lace in a four-inch-tall cobalt blue vase, and the other six in a blue painted jar.  The tiny vase goes on the bathroom sink.  The jar goes on the mantle.

I took a vow to always have red wine and flowers in my home.  I haven’t always kept this up.

But this summer wildflowers are understandable.  Something, something is there just to be taken, just to be enjoyed.

“Please, please, I want to see it!”

And she does.


Images: two vases from Paul Revere Pottery, the first, 1915, the second ca. 1908-15.  Both from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Below are my photos of my flowers.

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