Friday, July 4, 2008

It's Their Country, Too

Our national holiday, Independence Day or the 4th of July, is usually considered a day of fun with family and friends. We celebrate by having parades and gathering with family and friends to share food and companionship. Sometimes our fun includes firing off fireworks, the louder the better.

I'd like to take a moment to point out that not everyone enjoys fireworks, legal or illegal (which they are where I live, King County, Seattle, Alki). Many dogs and cats experience deep anxiety, fear, even terror at this time of year; an anxiety that their people often share as they watch their loved furry ones suffer. Gracie, the cat who lived across the street from me, actually approached me one year, the day after the 4th of July, seeking Reiki for emotional healing and to share her feelings (see Gracie the Cat and Fireworks). She did not just tell me how she felt, she let me feel her fear and desire to hide. She did not understand why her safe and quiet neighborhood suddenly turned into a terrifying place to be, with no hiding place far enough away from the noise and vibration -- there was no escape.

Domestic animals are not the only ones affected, wildlife feels the same way. Jacquie Lawson has released another stunningly gorgeous e-card entitled "E Pluribus Unum" (translated from Latin: Out of One, Many) that reminded me of the great beauty that is America and that it is the wilderness and the wildlife that help make it so. Wildlife that deserves our protection not only in great tracts of land far from our cities, but also within our urban landscapes. We should rejoice in the animals that have been able to survive among us and celebrate our independence with a care for them and for our environment.

If you can't entirely bring yourself to do away with fireworks completely, a very American tradition, perhaps you could tone them down. When I was a child fireworks were illegal in my home state of New Jersey (I think they are still), so my grandmother and aunt would supply us with slender wands called sparklers that when lit could be waved around illuminating the dark with miniature fountains of colored streaks of light. My sisters and I looked forward to this once-a-year event eagerly; family memories do not have to involve loud explosions, they can be made up of smaller experiences that become a tradition, year after year.

However you choose to celebrate the 4th of July this year, please remember that you share your neighborhood and homes with other species. Have a care for them, and have a safe, and fun, 4th of July.

Rose De Dan, Puma, Kiya, Saqqara, Cougar, and Sand
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC

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