The July Fourth Weekend

Whenever I travel,
I love being visually reminded
that Light is always there,
no matter what.

I took a red-eye back to Illinois.

The morning I arrived,
so did my brother-in-law
and nephews.

My sister would join us a little later.

The next day the g'rents,
the aunt, and the nephews
went on a hike.

Who knew that "friends"
had missed me since living
in bug-free NorCal?

Not I.
Not I.

Dressed from head to toe,
and in the forest,
I received 40 R.S.V.P.s
to an unknown rendezvous
I, too, was also invited to.
All in five minutes.

At the party and now at home,
constantly engaging with "social sound bites"
from the trail,
I noticed my poor eye begin to swell as well.

With televisions blaring,
conversations rousing,
itchiness raging,
one eyelid sagging,
and well-meant family,
I could only pray:

Fill me with your peace.
Hold me.

I received serenity and tranquility
and soothing care
all concocted into a balm for my soul.

Two days later, on the Fourth,
and after losing hope that my eyelid
would return to normal,
I dusted off my herbal medicinal book from
my junior high days.

Cabbage takes down swelling, itchness.
So does an onion, I relearned,
but a cabbage seemed
way more comforting. 
Cold, smooth, quiet.

I went that route,
lay on my bed,
and called a friend.

Later, while on the phone with my younger sister,
I was asked,
"Did you use an antihistamine?"

"I used a cabbage leaf."

She said some things
and then we chuckled
at the known and unspoken:
our love for our difference.

The early afternoon
ushered in a different kind of invite:
to go swimming with old friends.

My sister's high school friends
were also in town for the holiday
and one of their parents had a new pool.

My plan to rest turned into a frenzy
of changing clothes
to attend what felt like a once-in-a-lifetime
rendezvous: we always swam together in the summers.
The last time we did was probably 15 years ago.

The afternoon rolled
into the early evening,
and with that, the firework
festivities began.

(In spite of my Illinoian-turned-Californian heart)


I made homemade ice cream
and brownies, my favorite things on Fourth.

And later, we were off to get
our spot in the country:
a new find my parents had discovered.

I soon joined my nephews on the blanket
and with hands behind my head,
gazing up at the sky,
I gave thanks for the Light
that holds and loves
and truly frees (heals) me.