Pride of independence or independence from pride

I heard a few rumbles in the skies last night and ran out with the camera. Ended up standing there for about an hour, trying desperately to get a decent shot or two worth sharing. I have attached the best that I got to this email and was so proud to see how it turned out.

Pride though is a really hollow feeling and it didn’t take long to realize the pride for this type of shot purely belongs to mother nature. My part in the capture was randomly shooting into a dark sky and repeatedly pushing a shutter button.

When the pride evaporated, I began to widen my thought process into how later this evening much of America will show their independence pride in fireworks displays all across the country. From parents on their driveways, to community displays, even to the over-zealous display in the nation’s capitol, fireworks will light the skies within just a short few hours. It is an interesting tradition and apart from some unfortunate injuries that seem to happen every year, it brings happiness and wonder into the minds of children (young and old).

The piece that bothered me though was the fundamental role of pride that has overtaken the celebration itself, as neighbors try to outdo neighbors, cities try to outdo towns, and presidents try to exalt their own egos. When it is all over, kids will have memories, some of us will have photographs, and others will have bragging rights.  Making independence great again though is a fools errand. Charging at ostentatiously lit windmills in the sky because your dreams of military parades haven’t happened seems Quixotesque at best. (I might have just made up that word, by the way).

I have seen enough Planet Earth episodes to know that pride is not the sole domain of humans. Many species exhibit this characteristic and yet when we see over-the-top displays in animals we generally are entertained and often laugh at its foolishness. For it is a laughable characteristic that at the end of the day means absolutely nothing. It is a transient feeling of utmost shallowness that can be instantly extinguished by sadness or tragedy.

One of the wonderful and true feelings that being a part of the natural world can give a person is the feeling of humility. There are few feelings as meaningful and as life-shaping and yet the pressures of this materialistic world keeps pushing mankind away from it. To stand in a dark park and gaze at the night sky while mother nature lights it up is gratifying on a level that only true humility can understand.

Everything about this wonderful planet serves to remind an open mind that this planet is greater than all of us and how lucky we are to live on her. Pride enables her destruction, while humility can take us back from the brink.

Have a thoughtful weekend and I hope the planet speaks to you and your heart.

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