Wednesday, July 4, 2012

All-American Holiday

I hope everyone had a fabulous Fourth; but if you didn't, come join us, because Providence knows how to party. 

It was great to have Independence Day off, but I woke up bright and early nonetheless- except it was raining. The Scarborough Beach trip was cancelled, and the weather drizzled on my plans to spend one of the last few days here with my friends. After breakfasting together at 8 AM, we all headed back to bed, planning to meet up later. Instead, I went to Massachusetts. 

Both sets of Brownies were reunited, and I had a brief chance to get to know them before we set off. In keeping with today's theme, our first adventure took us a couple centuries back in our nation's storied history. This first New England colony was established by Pilgrim planters of Plymouth in 1620. 

The undisturbed or recreated -so good, I couldn't tell- wildlife was stunning. Hands down the largest variety of monarchs and painted ladies and bright yellow swallowtails pranced around the milkweed. These were not the flighty insects of the California suburbs which flit quickly away from humans with cameras; they were bold and beautiful butterflies with wingspans I'd never fathomed. Even the iridescent beetles were cool. I was hungry, and for a second I contemplated the unorthodoxy of uprooting one of the many juicy carrot plants or wild dill.

On the instructions of one of the Pilgrim women, I foraged for gooseberries and followed some chickens scratching in the sand. And while I didn't think too much of the humble abodes with no commodes, the realism of the rewind- especially the portrayals of the Pilgrim residents- was unexpectedly awesome. The actors' iron resolve and ability to stay in character were commendable. 

One of the park guides heralded the astounding feat of the colonists' progression in only 150 years, from thatched cabins to a society empowered by independence enough to challenge an empire for it.
Equally astounding is the reality, that a thriving indigenous population- a living tradition of resourcefulness and ecological responsibility- was driven to extinction in the same period of time. The culture isn't quite dead; at least today people are being educated by pseudo-Wapanoags at the "Plimoth Plantations".

I got back for tonight in time for the start of the party. Festivities kicked off downtown, and my buddies and I took advantage of our freedom to choose a fancy fusion Korean restaurant on 4th of July. Afterwards we walked to Kennedy Plaza, picked up more of the crew and headed across the bridge to India Point Park.

We were blindsided by the pedestrian traffic. It seemed all of Rhode Island had gathered for the celebration. A smorgasbord of food trucks, frozen lemonade stands, dayglo mohawk-wearing vendors hocking glowsticks and light sabers enlivened the atmosphere on a perfect summer night. From the best seats in the house, the hilltop view of the sunset and the fireworks reflecting off the harbor and the orchestra playing on the pier was spectacular. 

Providence creates too many timeless memories for me. I'm terrified how much I'll miss it. 

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