Kathy, I’m lost,” I said, though I knew she was sleeping.
“I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why”
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They’ve all come to look for America
All come to look for America
All come to look for America

Paul Simon

It’s the strangest Fourth of July in my life, maybe yours as well. In London, where there’s not much virus (at least for now), Super Saturday is here. Pubs, restaurants, and haircuts, for those who risk them. And soon, travel to a few countries and overseas territories.

But travel not, advises the government, to the famous former colonies celebrating the end of a revolution that declared independence from a King and became the prototypes for modern democracy. As an American, that’s sobering (no pun intended on pub independence day).

Kew Palace

Writing from Richmond upon Thames, a mile or two from Kew Palace, where the Tea Party inspiration George III convalesced during his periods of mental illness, I can’t help but observe the irony. Today celebrates long-awaited freedom from lockdown, at least in England, while Wales and Scotland lag a bit behind. In the United States, the reality is as different from most of Europe at any point during my years I’ve been away due to an American resurgence of coronavirus infections and a divergence of everyday points-of-view.

I remember in Seattle my friend Charlie Cunniff told me he was amazed that I could start over at a time that many people are close to retirement, and be open to new experiences, new customs, and leaving comfort behind. Then, I shrugged. Now, I’m confused, but I expect that soon, the confusion at worst evolve, and at best resolve.

Borrowing from the observations of many, I see five things that suggest a basis for hope, some of which I noted in earlier thoughts posted here:

  • The pandemic has assured the optimists among us that next time, we will be better prepared.
  • The pandemic helped to daylight social justice issues in a way not seen for years.
  • The pandemic showed that we can rally around methods of communication and transportation that will contribute solutions to the challenges of climate change.
  • The concepts of family, community, and neighborhood have renewed life.
  • In summary, it’s a time for inventiveness and expression, despite economic woes.

Thank you, Paul Simon, for some music for the times, and Happy Super Saturday to us all. Let’s not forget the good ideas we learned in school, such as all people are created equal. A surprising number of people still seem to need reminding.

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