I started the fourth off by going caching in our states capital. Things were quiet when I arrived at around seven am, but the days events to come were already taking shape. Preparations for what I assume would be a parade were going forth, a chicken barbecue at Fort Western was underway, and everywhere else people were readying there own celebrations. This was my cue to head out of the city and do some of Mapachi's caches placed amongst the "bugs" who it turn out were enjoying their own celebration by chewing on me. I made it through Wiscasset just ahead of their parade, although I did grab the MMM cache before making my escape. My favorite cache of the day was next in line. Singing Meadows is one of those caches we all need to do sometime in our caching careers. But if you ever get to do this cache on the Fourth of July on a day like yesterday, with the sky blue, the sun shining bright, and the monarch butterflies frittering through the wild flowers, a doe and her fawn walking slowly across the meadow, then you'll have the experience I had yesterday. This experience coupled with Au Revoir, The Shell Game, and others in the area made think of the freedoms we all have in this country for the pursuit of happiness. Enjoying something as simple as geocaching is a freedom, a freedom, as Attroll pointed out in the video he shared with us, isn't allowed everyone.
Five years ago I found myself biking across Illinois on a very hot, humid Fourth of July. America's heartland, farmers. country people, average hard working Americans, all celebrating their freedoms. That evening found us, through what I only can contribute to a stroke of good fortune, camping at a "Steam Engine" show at a private campgrounds. I only say good fortune because this was a private affair that most outsiders will never get to see. I think we got invited to stay simply because these people, who by the way were all seniors, thought we must be crazy riding bicycles in that kind of heat. The youngest people there were a couple in their early seventies. Some were in there eighties, some in there nineties. They have been gathering here on the Fourth of July for years. As the sun started to set they built a huge fire, even though it was still at least eighty degrees, brought out musical instruments and began to sing all those songs old people sing at times like these. That evening talking to these people forever changed my outlook on life, on what really is important. These are some of the same people who charged up hills through machine gun fire during WW II, who return home to the farms to raise their families, so one day they could sing patriotic songs on the fourth.
What you may ask does one story have to do with the other. Well the answer is the freedom we all have to enjoy the simplest of pleasures. A freedom I think that is slowly being taken away from us by another freedom. That freedom is the right of all us to pursue the all mighty dollar. Run away greed by the rich is slowly taken away our right to see all that I saw yesterday, and these old folks right to gather and sing their songs. You see if things keep going as they are, we won;t be able to afford to get there.