Monday, July 5, 2010

Making and Independence Day

Making Monday

Today is the federal holiday for yesterday's national holiday. Independence Day in the United States speaks to makers at several levels.

The city in which I live prides itself on its patriotism. Each year, the local luminaries put on a massive stadium show with celebrities, a military fly-over and a stunning firework finale.

I usually watch the fireworks from afar, but I've never gone to the stadium.

Why?

Because it's anti-climactic after the real celebration I attend about mid-day.

You see, there's an island of homes in the middle of our neighborhood. At noon, the children gather on decorated bicycles, scooters, and the occasional ridding lawn mower to parade around the loop. (Thanks to the older ones, it usually turns into more of a road rally.) Then we gather at the host homes, where the barbecues are going, for hot dogs, hamburgers, and neighborhood pot luck. That, more than the jets, the pop stars, and the fireworks, is what America is all about in my book.

Makers don't only make things, they make communities. After all, what is a community but a group of interacting people where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Which, in a larger sense is what the men who declared independence on (or around) July 4th and later crafted a constitution did too: they created a whole, a union, that is greater than the sum of its parts.

That's good making.

Image: Bill Longshaw / FreeDigitalPhotos.net