Happy Independence Day

A few years ago on this very same night, I was trying to go to sleep and my next-door neighbor across the holler had other ideas – so he shot my roof with fireworks! I listened as at least four mortar shells launched, soared into the sky, exploded, and then their spent shells impacted and rolled down my roof! I do not believe it was intentional but then again one never knows. I had to climb up on the roof in the middle of the night while fireworks exploded all around me – just to be sure the spent noisemakers did not light my house on fire!!

Grrrrr…there he goes again…I may have to have a talk with him…or better yet have the sheriff pay him a visit.

Luckily, my house did not burn down. However, my warmongering pyromaniac neighbor ran out of fireworks and started shooting his guns into the air around 11:30 pm all while cranking ’60-’80s music over his overbuilt car stereo so loud I could hear it inside my house over 1200 feet away – even with a thickly forested buffer between us.

While I totally support celebrating Independence Day – damn, I really hate fireworks. There was a time when I liked them but that was long ago. Now that I’m older and wiser and I have cultivated a reverence for all life, I see fireworks as only a celebration of littering, war, and bloodshed and a garish waste of money and resources that needlessly scare wildlife, pets, people, create unnecessary pollution and cause fires and loads of other issues when used incorrectly.

It is no wonder they are illegal in many places. Grrrrr!!!

I was just about to call the sheriff when he powered it all down and all went quiet.

I can only imagine the scene – his house and yard littered with spent fireworks, shotgun shells, and beer cans, a bare-chested, drunk, passed out male bipedal primate – or possibly female …or both…or an assortment of drooling, inebriated, bipedal primates…I have no idea since I have never seen the house where the fireworks originate or the primates that live within it – reclining in a lawn chair with a smoking shotgun in one flaccid pale white hand, a bud “dumber” can in the other spilling warm beer into a puddle being lapped up by a filthy mongrel of a dog while another stinking drunk canine sleeps upside down – tongue and gonads hanging out – on a moldering couch covered in beer cans, cigarette butts, and empty firework and shotgun shell boxes, in the middle of the driveway while a dollar store likeness of a “murican” flag hangs limp in the clearing smoke.

A sad scene to be sure and a scene that is becoming all too common in some parts of this country. In my opinion, this blatant disregard for public safety, wildlife, and nature has little to do with patriotism and more to do with childish machismo, dangerous patriotism, and inane stupidity. Our brave forefathers would be sad and disgusted at the level at which many of us have fallen.

At least the bozo has good taste in music.

Here are a few ideas for a meaningful, lasting celebration of our independence that can improve our communities, our country, and our connections with each other and with nature:

1. Plant some trees that will provide oxygen, shade, and sequester carbon. You could make it an annual tradition and call them “Freedom Trees” and over time you would have a “Freedom Forest.” If you and your kids planted fruit trees you could produce some of your own “Freedom Fruit” and before long you would have a “Freedom Orchard” – you get the idea 🙂

2 – Plant a vegetable garden to produce some of your own food. You could call it the “Freedom Garden” or as they did in WW2 a “Victory Garden” – whatever you called it, it would be a great way to grow some of your own food and teach your kids where their food comes from and how to be more self-sufficient and therefore, truly free.

3. You could add some solar panels to your roof/property to lessen your reliance on coal and foreign oil and in doing so you would become more energy secure and self-sufficient by farming the sun and producing your own “Freedom Electrons” to power your personal energy needs.

4. You could trade in that old gas guzzler for a new or used electric car. If you only used it to go to work/town and back as a daily driver for even just a few times per week – it will save you loads of money on fuel, oil, and maintenance – especially with fuel prices as high as they are now – oh and you can charge it up with those solar panels I mentioned earlier and have zero fuel costs.

True self-reliance comes when you are not tied to the grocery stores and fuel pumps – which are tied to corporate farms and oil fields of the Gulf of Mexico and the Middle East by several hundred to thousands of miles long supply chains. Operating and protecting these supply chains – especially the petroleum “umbilical cord” without which all gas/diesel vehicles would be useless – costs billions of our hard-earned tax dollars, the lives of our loved ones in the military who work hard and give their lives to protect it, and what about all the toxic, health, earth, life, atmosphere, and future-destroying pollution that comes with every step of the process?

For a moment just forget all your pre-conceived and/or religiopolitical notions about this idea and just imagine never paying for gas and oil ever again. What would you do with all that money? Imagine quietly making your own clean fuel and energy at home and being able to unplug from the subscription to dependency at the gas pump and the local monopolistic power plant and not needing to feed off of the teat of the twisted, toxic, destructive fossil fuel-based energy system we have created over the last 200 years.

There is a better way and it leads to true energy independence – I know how it feels because I have done it. I have been driving a fully electric car for almost 9 years and I charge it with “homegrown” sunshine so my EV electron fuel costs are around 1 cent per mile! I never stop at gas stations, never worry about tune-ups, exhaust pipes, mufflers, emissions inspections, etc…driving electric is an amazing feeling of freedom and it is a great feeling in every way. If I can do it, so can you.

5. Here is another good idea – what about eating less meat even if only for one day a week.

Aside from the obvious health benefits, eating less meat means less land and resources will be used up for industrial animal farming – “Factory Farms” – and all the problems they create. If you just cannot fathom that move then maybe you can choose to raise and/or ethically hunt and fish for your own meat instead of supporting dirty, unhealthy, industrial animal farms – like gardening, it teaches the next generation where their food comes from, it teaches respect for other life forms, and it teaches self-reliance – aka freedom…and besides, getting outside in nature, be it for hunting, fishing, farming, gardening, planting trees, installing solar, driving your solar-charged EV, or taking a hike in the forest with your kids, family or dog or alone – is just so good for you and your loved ones and it is a great way to celebrate our country’s and maybe your own independence day 🙂

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