I woke up late Sunday morning in my growing-up room. Late Saturday night family gatherings meant staying over at my mom’s house. I couldn’t stand the thought of setting another alarm, and with nothing else to wake me, I slept late. Too late to make the hour drive back to church.

So, I decided to spend the morning in my mom’s garden, picking green beans. As I bent and stooped and kneeled, grabbing hand fulls of beans and an occasional stem, my black Lab, Precious, panted rhythmically, laying in the row between the beans and the strawberries in the shadow of the sweet corn.

We were free. Free to come and go, to worship in church or in the garden.

It was the morning of the Fourth of July.

Later, I tried to hang a pot of impatiens from the big maple tree in my front yard. Wielding first a cordless screwdriver, then a hand-held phillips-head, then a hammer. It wasn’t working; I felt tears sting my eyes.

Though I have lived alone for years and should be able to do simple jobs like this by myself, I felt defeated when I had to leave the task less than perfect. Now, instead of hanging firmly next to the bark, the pot hanger sways in the breeze.

I don’t know what will happen when the next big storm comes.

I came in, hot and sweaty, and fed the dog.

Sometimes, independence just feels lonely and overwhelming.

Throughout the evening, the firecrackers around the neighbor exploded louder and closer and quicker. Bang, bang, bang from across the street. Kaboom from the house to the north.

Precious started panting and pacing. She jumped her front legs up on me as I sat in the recliner. She hid between my legs when I coaxed her outside. She scratched at my arms when I let her sit on the couch next to me as I read.

Precious hates Independence Day.

By 9:30 I decided to go to bed, turning up the radio and the fan loud enough to try to drown out the minor explosions going on around us. Precious jumped on and off the bed, laid on one side of me then the other as I continued to try to read.

Music blaring, fan blowing, cracks and bangs coming quickly now, dog panting and drooling over my head. After a couple of hours, I had enough. I pulled the dog crate out of the laundry room into the hallway. I drug Precious into her little den, knowing that even though I was taking away her freedom, eventually the close quarters would bring her comfort.

Throughout my neighborhood, residents continued to freely detonate small explosives throughout the night while my dog and I hunkered down as though in a war zone.

Sometime around 2:30, I woke to silence, let Precious out of her crate, and went back to sleep.

I woke up late again this morning. Let Freedom Ring.

For a few other Fourth of July posts, visit . . . 

Laura at The Wellspring
Jennifer at Getting Down with Jesus
LL at Seedlings in Stone  or at High Calling Blogs
Craver at CRAVER VII 
A Simple Country Girl at Aspire to Lead a Quiet Life 
Mel at Mental Post-Its