I can’t seem to get through a July 4th holiday without tears welling up in my eyes at some point. It usually happens on the corner of Peachtree & Lenox, underneath a crane hoisted flag. Some guy or gal is pouring the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner into an empty microphone, and by the time s/he gets to the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, my twin cups are running over. It always happens that people look at me. Look, the big bald kid is crying. Yeah, who knows what they’re really thinking. I can barely keep up with what I’m thinking.
There we are, standing on the corner, getting ready to cover the distance to Piedmont Park some 6.2 miles away. We’re 60,000 strong, and that doesn’t count the rowdy spectators lining the sidewalks armed with placards of motivation and shouts of encouragement. What are we doing here anyway? Tramps like us . . . my thoughts stray from the solemn images of our fighting men & women, past & present, their agonies of separation, their struggles in battle, their hopes of home . . . baby, we were born to run.
The song has nothing to do with what we’re doing, but it doesn’t matter. The lyrics are ours, and we can do with them as we please. The lyrics are fluid like that, just like us. We gotta keep moving. This is nothing new, you’ve heard it before. Everyone’s trying to get somewhere, some just move faster than others. We sidestep, weave, hurdle, and recalibrate our torque to get where we’re going. Sometimes it’s good to stand on the corner of Peachtree & Lenox and think about where we came from, but 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . GO! we’re not welcome there anymore. The past is in foreclosure, and our future seems so distant, but it really isn’t that far. Is it? 6.2 miles, or whatever the distance you have to cover, starts right now. You’re moving. One step, one step, never counting two . . . Don’t stop. Don’t look back. Never stop. You’ll get there, and you know it.
Weather prophets never seem to know what they’re talking about. Some people are always overcast and live in a high likelihood of rain. The song is always about something else, and there’s always mud in the park. Curious sorts to look at, but no depth to dwell. Wear galoshes or go barefoot, the choice is yours. Make the song mean what you want it to mean, so long as it keeps you moving. Not only does the sun rise, it also shines. Fly past the clouds, the sun is right over there, risen and shining on you.