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Fireworks At The Marin County Fair

July 7, 2008

Another July 4th. Another sunburn. Another fireworks display. Do I sound like I've been in this country for too long?

It's actually been ten years, almost to the day, since I first arrived on these shores -- a mere slip of a girl with little idea that cheese could be squeezed out of a tube, let alone that skyscrapers were capable of collapsing if hit by a couple of exploding planes.

The world has changed a great deal over the past decade, so it seems to me. And yet some things, like Independence Day fireworks, never seem to change. And yet, in a sense, they do.

I experienced my first ever July 4th display of pyromaniacal derring-do on the shores of the Charles River in Cambridge, MA. That was in 1998. I was overwhelmed by the crowds and the power of the Boston Pops Orchestra coming at me from the opposite bank.

This year, as I sat with equally humungous crowds watching the fireworks display at the Marin County Fair in San Raphael California, I couldn't help but feel a bittersweet twinge for my salad days on the east coast.

Back then, I sat on the banks of a great river, watching an amazing display of lights to the sound of a live orchestra. I was embarking upon a new adventure and there was a credible president in office. This year, I sat by a glorified pond watching the ducks run for cover in a patch of nearby reeds as the red, white and blue lights went off against a backdrop of canned rock music blasting above my head from a set of mammoth speakers.

What's the cliche about "viewing the world through rose-tinted spectacles"? Perhaps I'm a little guilty of that. Yet I love this country. In wouldn't have stayed so long if I didn't. But while I'm still on an adventure, the man in office never lit my fuse.

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