The Fourth of July is the day each year that the United States celebrates itself as an independent nation. July First was Canada Day, and this year Canada as we know it is 150 years old. I use “as we know it” as a kind of shorthand to recognize that there is a long history of indigenous peoples and cultures in Canada and the U.S. well before their current political incarnations.
Respecting that history means celebrating independence thoughtfully, mindfully. Each year I try to consider other contexts in which independence holds meaning. I’ve practiced days of being independent from expectations, independent from fear, and independent from judging others.
This year, I plan to practice independence from the news cycle. Twenty-four hours without discovering what’s been tweeted, accused, denied, promoted, spun, or just plain lied about. Instead, I’ll focus my attention on my home, yard, family, friends, and people in my community with whom I can interact without mediation. I’ll listen to music, baseball, the breeze and the birds.
I will be grateful for all who will keep vigil on the news cycle. I’m sure I’ll return to their ranks. But for one day, I’ll see what it’s like to be unplugged from the big picture and immersed in the small one.