MachineHere’s to a happy, healthy Independence Day, American friends! (Plus a much wider wish for independence—real, autonomy striving, responsibility ensured freedom—to creators and explorers and teachers and dreamers all around the world.)

At the risk of sounding pedantic, I invite and encourage you to shoehorn a few minutes between the bunting and the barbeque, between the parade and the fireworks, a few minutes to wonder about independence.

Independence Rumination

First the big picture stuff. What is this independence that we celebrate like a sunny summer day? What really is the independence genome, the secret recipe, the blueprint? Is it even real? An illusion? A sexy fantasy? A bait and switch? A panacea? Is it individual or intrinsically social? Political, philosophical, aesthetic, ethical?

Yes. I think, yes. But I’m fallible. Fiercely, freely, fallible.

Now that you’re down the independence rabbit hole, pause a moment longer to wonder what undergirds independence. Does independence require a foundation? A skeleton? Is independence eternally evolving and eternally fragile and eternally contingent upon inputs, work, sacrifice, compromise?

Yes. Rights require responsibilities. I try to do my part. I could do better. What about you?

Half Time

Today’s my forty third 4th of July. If I’m lucky, I may celebrate another 43 American Independence Days. That makes today an intermission of sorts. Half time, if only approximate. And that calls for a halftime show with song and fireworks. Metaphorical song and fireworks. For example, a word doodle recycled from fragments of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”.

Let sweet freedom’s song swell the breeze and ring from all the trees. Author of liberty, of thee and to thee I sing. Let freedom ring!

Not quite the half time show you wanted? Here’s Plan B, here are the original, unadulterated lyrics from Samuel Francis Smith’s 1831 “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”:

My country, ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From ev’ry mountainside
Let freedom ring!

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom’s song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our fathers’ God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom’s holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.

Happy Independence Day!

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