In many respects, Independence Day is the summer’s equivalent of Christmas.
Snow, cold, and all that includes are cool in the weeks leading up to Christmas. We want a white, snowy Christmas because that’s what cards, Hallmark television movies, and tradition tells us. People can’t wait for it to snow so they can feel that chill in the air. Hot cocoa with marshmallows by a warm, toasty fire while snowflakes descend on the ground outside? What’s not to like?
But then Christmas morning arrives and you can almost hear that sound of a phonograph needle being quickly jerked from the record. Literally that same evening, while people are shoveling the latest batch of snow, they’re muttering, “Enough of this crap,” not fully acknowledging that winter has only just begun. The cold and snow have served their purpose – the lead-in to another holiday – and now that the day has passed, it’s time for heat again. The magic is over.
Well, exchange “snow” and “cold” in that argument for “heat” and “humidity,” and change out “Christmas Day” for “Independence Day” – because that’s what we’re faced with now. I’m not a heat person, but I’ve long since realized that my powers to change the temperatures have faded. In plain language, I can’t do anything about it except adapt, so I do; no need to whine on about it being hot. But already, I’m hearing noise to the effect of, “Bring on the cooler temps!” Seriously? It’s averaged about 80ºF here since the end of May – it doesn’t get “hot” until August, and if recent years are any indication, we’ll be feeling that well into September. Get ready, my friends, because it’s a-comin’.
There’s another reason that I compare the two holidays. Both Christmas and Independence Day have traditionally been – for me, at least – days of anticipation. There’s an emotional build-up in the weeks leading up to either day. Not akin to anxiety, mind you, but there’s this weird kind of expectation that the holiday will be special. With Christmas, it’s obviously tied to the idea of giving and receiving gifts, but I don’t know what it is with Independence Day. Fireworks? Maybe. Barbecues and cookouts? Possibly. I don’t know – I’ve always felt something for Independence Day that made it exciting and interesting.
Of course, when you build that kind of expectation into a day, that means that there’s going to be a down-side on the days following, and that’s my real point. January is unforgiving in its ability to depress; July and August are no different. . . .