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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Fourth of July :Time to Remember

I am flying my Amercan flag today as a salute to my American friends and family members.

It is no liberty bell but I will ring my farm bell fifty times today, once for each State.

It is a good day to read the Declaration of Independence. a most remarkable , inspirational, political document. Here is the beginning portion.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, having its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. . . . . . . ."

How far the beloved Republic has fallen under the tenure of George W. Bush. (199 days to go. . . .but who is counting!)

"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it."

-Mark Twain

Here is a celebration of America by Walt Whitman, at a time when the people lived close to the land, working and playing hard to fashion their lives and a Nation.

Our Old Feuillage

ALWAYS our old feuillage!
Always Florida's green peninsula — always the priceless delta
of Louisiana —always the cotton-fields of Alabama and
Always California's golden hills and hollows, and the silver
mountains of New Mexico — always soft-breath'd Cuba,
Always the vast slope drain'd by the Southern sea, inseparable
with the slopes drain'd by the Eastern and Western seas,
The area the eighty-third year of these States, the three and a half
millions of square miles,
The eighteen thousand miles of sea-coast and bay-coast on the
main, the thirty thousand miles of river navigation,
The seven millions of distinct families and the same number of
dwellings — always these, and more, branching forth
into numberless branches,
Always the free range and diversity — always the continent
of Democracy;
Always the prairies, pastures, forests, vast cities, travelers, Kanada,
the snows;
Always these compact lands tied at the hips with the belt stringing
the huge oval lakes;
Always the West with strong native persons, the increasing density
there, the habitans, friendly, threatening, ironical, scorning invaders;
All sights, South, North, East — all deeds promiscuously done at
all times,
All characters, movements, growths, a few noticed, myriads unnoticed,
Through Mannahatta's streets I walking, these things gathering,
On interior rivers by night in the glare of pine knots, steam-boats
wooding up,
Sunlight by day on the valley of the Susquehanna, and on the
valleys of the Potomac and Rappahannock, and the valleys of
the Roanoke and Delaware,
In their northerly wilds beasts of prey haunting the Adirondacks

the hills, or lapping the Saginaw waters to drink,
In a lonesome inlet a sheldrake lost from the flock, sitting on
the water rocking silently,
In farmers' barns oxen in the stable, their harvest labor done,
they rest standing, they are too tired,
Afar on arctic ice the she-walrus lying drowsily while her cubs
play around,
The hawk sailing where men have not yet sail'd, the farthest polar
sea, ripply, crystalline, open, beyond the floes,
White drift spooning ahead where the ship in the tempest dashes,
On solid land what is done in cities as the bells strike midnight
In primitive woods the sounds there also sounding, the howl of the
wolf, the scream of the panther, and the hoarse bellow of the elk,
In winter beneath the hard blue ice of Moosehead lake, in summer
visible through the clear waters, the great trout swimming,
In lower latitudes in warmer air in the Carolinas the large black
buzzard floating slowly high beyond the tree tops,
Below, the red cedar festoon'd with tylandria, the pines and
cypresses growing out of the white sand that spreads far and flat,
Rude boats descending the big Pedee, climbing plants, parasites with
color'd flowers and berries enveloping huge trees,
The waving drapery on the live-oak trailing long and low, noiselessly
waved by the wind,
The camp of Georgia wagoners just after dark, the supperfires and
the cooking and eating by whites and negroes,
Thirty or forty great wagons, the mules, cattle, horses, feeding
from troughs,
The shadows, gleams, up under the leaves of the old sycamore-trees,
the flames with the black smoke from the pitch-pine curling and rising;
Southern fishermen fishing, the sounds and inlets of North Carolina's
coast, the shad-fishery and the herring-fishery, the large
sweep-seines, the windlasses on shore work'd by horses, the
clearing, curing, and packing-houses;
Deep in the forest in piney woods turpentine dropping from the
incisions in the trees, there are the turpentine works,
There are the negroes at work in good health, the ground in all
directions is cover'd with pine straw;
In Tennessee and Kentucky slaves busy in the coalings, at the forge,
by the furnace-blaze, or at the corn-shucking,
In Virginia, the planter's son returning after a long absence, joyfully
welcom'd and kiss'd by the aged mulatto nurse,
On rivers boatmen safely moor'd at nightfall in their boats under
shelter of high banks,Some of the younger men dance to the sound of the banjo or fiddle, others sit on the gunwale smoking and talking;
Late in the afternoon the mocking-bird, the American mimic, singing
in the Great Dismal Swamp,
There are the greenish waters, the resinous odor, the plenteous moss,
the cypress-tree, and the juniper-tree;
Northward, young men of Mannahatta, the target company from
an excursion returning home at evening, the musket-muzzles
all bear bunches of flowers presented by women;Children at play, or on his father's lap a young boy fallen asleep,
(how his lips move! how he smiles in his sleep!)
The scout riding on horseback over the plains west of the Mississippi,
he ascends a knoll and sweeps his eyes around;California life, the miner, bearded, dress'd in his rude costume,
the stanch California friendship, the sweet air, the graves one
in passing meets solitary just aside the horse-path;
Down in Texas the cotton-field, the negro-cabins, drivers driving
mules or oxen before rude carts, cotton bales piled on banks
and wharves;
Encircling all, vast-darting up and wide, the American Soul,
with equal hemispheres, one Love, one Dilation or Pride;
In arriere the peace- talk with the Iroquois the aborigines, the
calumet, the pipe of good-will, arbitration, and indorsement,

I trust everyone enjoys this day of celebration with family, friends and neighbours.


At 6:19 a.m., Blogger Peggy said...

Will be sitting with the goats till all the fireworks are over. Hopefully will have a new little kid to snuggle. Thank you for flying your flag and ringing your bell. I will have to give my little farm bell 50 rings. Have a great weekend.

At 10:09 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was really good of you Philip.
After 50 rings I think I'd have an achey arm.
Have a great weekend.

At 1:48 p.m., Blogger Gretchen said...

Just getting our ribs set out to bbq. The family will be here in about an hour.

GW has systematically destroyed far too many of our liberties and what it means to be an American. What a disgrace.

At 10:59 a.m., Blogger Old Wom Tigley said...

What a great post this is.. I've seen fireworks and flags glore on Sky Watch Philip and I enjoyed them all, but these words by a man I've never heard of 'Walt Whitman' brings the message of what America was all about to my understanding much more that a flag or firework.

At 12:35 p.m., Blogger Janet said...

Thank you, Phillip. I wonder how long it's been since our political leaders have actually READ the declaration? Ever?

And thank you for Walt Whitman. One of my favorites.


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