In Knoxville, we have Boomsday.
My first year in town I drove to the top of Sanderson Hill, not really near town, but with a good view of the fireworks, after George was in bed for the evening, and watched the last bit of the fireworks. I wasn't a part of the festivities, but I enjoyed seeing the show.
Last year I didn't feel up to going at all. I didn't want to go by myself, and I somehow didn't, or couldn't manage to, find someone to go with. This year however I intended to go and see what it was all about, despite my general ambivalence about dealing with traffic. After all, if I waited around for someone to show up, I'd never do anything, would I?
Instead I awoke with a vicious sinus headache, a headache with which I struggled all day. In the end, I stayed home. But I could hear the fireworks from my house. I wandered outside early, on the cusp of dusk really, and I couldn't see anything. But I heard the fireworks coming from the direction of downtown. As it grew darker sometimes I would see a glimmer of something, although it may have just been my imagination, a dream of fireworks.
Then the thunder started, Mother Nature singing harmony to the man made melody arising from the river. Sheet lightening followed, interspersed with occasional sparkles of color. I sat outside, on the lawn, in my comfy chair with a glass of wine, listening to this impromptu symphony with the added lightshow. There was something peaceful about it, hard as that may be to explain. I've been in some powerful and even frightening storms, but unless you are in that place of imminent danger, there is something awe inspiring about thunderstorms. Just as I love fog but hate to drive in it, I love thunderstorms, even when they are terrifyingly close. In their overwhelming power and beauty I see that I am but a helpless speck, that I have no control and can change nothing. It should be terrifying, but it isn't. In relinquishing the idea of control one gains the possibility of peace.
Soon the deluge began and I returned to the comfort of a roof and four walls, where I was lulled to sleep by the sound of retreating thunder.
Today is Labor Day, a day devoted to the rights and achievements of workers both socially and economically. It is also one of the biggest retail sales days of the year. Am I the only person who finds this incongruous? A day meant to celebrate the rights of laborers is a day where many who labor in underpaid retail jobs must work so that the companies that hire them can make more money. Don't fool yourselves, the labor day sales are all about money. I remember when holidays were holidays, and stores wee closed. Laborers were off on labor day, even in retail sales. Of course there are those who must work, those who protect us and care for us, who provide necessary services. Yes, having stores open is convenient, but isn't it a false convenience, robbing of us of the spirit of celebration, of honoring those who work so that this country may thrive? By making Labor Day and Memorial Day into big shopping holidays have we really gained more than we have lost?
Photos from Knoxville News Sentinel, here.