Silent Companionship


Today was the United States Independence Day, most people in America know that – but for the sake of reasonable doubt I’ll assume that some people didn’t know that and rightfully didn’t care. Regardless, today was Independence Day, and I celebrated alone.

Stood on my front porch alone I watched in silence as the city fireworks display went off – and as the various people of the city set off their own fireworks. While I did that, all I could remember was how my family used to set off our own fireworks and I’d watch in fascination as the sparks flew. I especially remember the one year I nearly set my shirt on fire with a sparkler.

Yes, a sparkler. I’m not even cool enough to get set on fire by a proper firework.

Anyway, it got me thinking. Fireworks are like life. We burn bright, and fly high for a while. And in a burst of beautiful, opulent light. It’s not sad, it’s wonderful. A fleeting mystery that no one understands. Okay, life is a lot more simple than that but we understand one thing: life is precious.

As I stood there alone, I noticed my next door neighbor stood alone on their own porch watching the displays just as I was doing. We didn’t talk, we didn’t even look at each other but we did know we were both there, doing the same thing in comfortable silence.

There is something very therapeutic about that sort of silent companionship. We didn’t plan it, I’ve never even spoken to my neighbor but we ended up there on our respective porches doing the same thing. That tiny link that ties us as together. The part of us that begs for companions, that wants us to feel a part of something even if it’s far off. In this case, the part that was far off was the people at the rodeo watching the fireworks display up close.

Of course as soon as I turned around to try and see another display, my companion was gone. But around me, the displays kept firing – none of them waiting for my companion to come back to watch. Which is fair, because they never came back anyway.

But for some reason, it made me feel sad. And I had no reason to feel sad, I don’t know my neighbor and like I said we were only out there together because of a coincidence. Still. My neighbor was the first person I metaphorically “Hung out” with since I got off for the weekend. All I see is my coworkers all week and then all I do is wait for the next week to begin.

The fireworks didn’t seem as bright once they left. All I did is watch fireworks alone, in the heat. But what of it? That’s life. Together we soared high and then shined and then flashed out of life in the seconds I looked away.

I suppose this is a long drawn out metaphor for appreciating what you have before it’s gone. No, more like – loving everything and then loving it even though it’s gone. We shouldn’t live like everything is going to be gone in a flash of . The flash should be our revelry of life, our celebration – not our mourning.

Life is beautiful, and even in the dark it shines like the sun. So celebrate, celebrate all of it.

P. Anthony


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