Bulls and the Blood

This weekend, as I was hiding from the sticky heat that's overtaken the Northeast, I stumbled across Fearless. And so the Brazilian contingent of PBR competitors kept me company while I reorganized a closet and sorted some pictures and contemplated this week.

For my friends who don't track with such things: PBR is professional bull riding, not Pabst Blue Ribbon. Just to be sure we're all on the same page. 

My thoughts turned to my options for Independence Day. For many years, I spent the holiday like most people do, with family, friends, fireworks, and strawberry shortcake from whichever local group was serving up bowls at the fireworks. ("Oooo! Aaaaah! Looky here!")

For even more years, the holiday was a blur of two or three parades in a day and racing from one to the next on the backroads in cars full of bandmates in sweaty wool. July 4 is right up there with St. Patrick's Day and Memorial Day for bagpipe bands.

Then I stumbled into an insane agency schedule that stressed me out by making me skip parade commitments to stay on top of work commitments. And unfortunately, since going out on my own, that pattern has continued. Without the natural holiday structures offered by local family or a tight-knit social group, this has become one of several holidays that I always intend to take off, but that, in reality, become just one more workday (albeit one without emails and phone calls).

That is the case this year. I'll be working on a project tomorrow and then, whenever I'm done, tackling some neglected chores around the house. There is something of a trade-off. I will absolutely not be working on the Baha'i holiday next Tuesday. And I fully intend to run away early next Friday to spend the weekend celebrating my dad's birthday. 

Still, none of that really makes up for the fun that comes from being free when large numbers of other people are free. Which is why, as I watched world class bull riders dance until the buzzer set them free, my music-associating brain first took me to Garth Brooks: "... it's the bulls and the blood, the dust and the mud, it's the roar of a Sunday crowd ..."

Which made me think how very much I would really like to be spending my Independence Day in jeans, tank top, and cowboy hat or ballcap, with a boot up on the rails and screaming myself hoarse. Calf roping. Barrel racing. Steer wrestling. Saddle broncs. Bareback. Team roping. Bull riding. Chris LeDoux blaring out the speakers. The smell of warm livestock and dry grain. I'm all about it.

Independence Day, to me, is best when spent as far as possible from a computer screen. Covered in dust. Sunburned right through my sunscreen. Happy as a clam.