Monday, July 5, 2010

The Best Show of All

Up here in the north woods, the Fourth of July is a homemade celebration. And that makes it quite special. Given good weather, even in bad weather, everyone makes an effort to celebrate. If not for themselves, then for the sake of grandchildren and teenagers visiting from the city. This year it was a vintage Fourth. The weather was perfect - 80F with a temperate breeze from the north that kept the bugs away. The sun was shining, but gave us occasional relief behind beautiful puffy clouds.

On our lake, we have a 'boat parade' at 1PM. Mind you, the boats on our lake are not yachts. They are primarily aluminum fishing boats (aluminum due to the boulders), a few small pontoons, and 'Grand Lakers', a style of fishing boat that looks like a long canoe with a straight stern to hold an outboard motor. Everyone dolls up their boats with flags and streamers, and wears Uncle Sam hats and waves flags as we drive around the lake, counter clockwise in a caravan. A parade needs an audience, so others stay on shore, spraying the paraders with water guns, waving, shouting "Happy Fourth" and cheering. It's all over in 45 minutes and the parade boats disperse. This year we had 21 boats.

After that, everyone visits, and most have some kind of cookout and try their luck at fishing for bass, white perch, and pickerel. As darkness falls, one hears the booms and sees the brilliant color displays of fireworks. But those are unofficial and in some cases, not exactly legal. But there is something uniquely American about the whole day here, where citizens organize themselves to have a good time.

This year the day was special because the boat parade passed by a pair of loons with their new chick.

Then after the parade, when we were sharing a glass of lemonade with folks from a neighboring lake, a friendly yearling moose paid a visit.

Come to think of it, no matter what we humans do, Mother Nature always puts on the best show of all.