The 4th of July used to be one of my favorite holidays when I was a teen. Back in high school, it signified the epitome of summer: school had been out long enough that I wasn’t thinking of June and August was far enough away that the new school year wasn’t something I worried about yet. For us kids? We could be kids. There were backyard BBQ’s, pool parties with friends and families, and by the time fireworks were set off in the night sky, I’d have tears streaming down my cheeks during the finale because I was so incredibly happy with life.
The holiday took on a different meaning in my 20’s. Even only a few months of student teaching in a remote part of Indonesia during a civil war, for years after, fireworks set off in the borough on the 4th or on any other random night (as college kids tended to do in the streets) resulted in me screaming and ducking behind the largest piece of furniture I could find. Chris would gently coax me out, reassuring me that it wasn’t gunfire and that I was safe. Safe. To go from a favorite holiday to one I feared is something that still takes me by surprise.
Now in my 30’s, July 4th reminds me how immensely grateful I am to live in a country where freedoms still exist after being in so many places where it doesn’t. I had the option this year of spending the 4th in two very different, all-American ways: backyard BBQ’s in suburbia surrounded by friends, or in the small town I love, completely alone.
I warred with this decision, knowing what the holiday meant to me. Chris is in Africa for a few weeks. I had options. And being alone is different from being lonely.
When you are on the banks of the Battenkill river in an idyllic, small American town over the holiday weekend and see hundreds of patriotic tubers floating past you with huge, American flags sticking out of their river tubes and red, white and blue glittery bling in their hats, you can’t help but feel pride toward your country. Freedom.
The freedom of expression. For me, it’s been in the form of artwork. I was in Vermont originally this past weekend to drop off orders. For the wine hutch, these repeat customers gave me carte blanche to do what I wanted. They just wanted a wine hutch with certain dimensions for their porch.
Every piece of this hutch is out of reclaimed wood except for the rough 6′ planks on the side and the hardware. Since these clients had purchased pieces from me in Arlington last summer, I had a sense of their style. Plus, knowing that they wanted something rustic for their barware and to make drinks on their porch made it easier to figure out a design for them.
Glass racks hug the sides, and a beer bottle opener is tucked away on the left while a wine bottle opener holder is on the right. There is a “hideaway” flip down cabinet in the center, with ample shelving below and above for glasses, plates, etc., leaving a huge work station to mix drinks. An old apple brandy barrel top adorns the bar center, framed by a barrel ring.
The cherry wood provides a contrast with the darker pallet wood and blonde wood. With all three woods mixed for the walls and shelving, it all ties together with black iron hardware.
(Sorry for the lighting in these photos. It apparently was a very, VERY sunny day. Until they picked it up. Then there were huge storms and tornado warnings. Naturally.)
This 4th of July, I sat on the deck at the cabin alone, my bare feet swinging over the ledge. I laid back on the deck, still warm from the setting sun, and I stared up at the stars, listening to the woods wake up. I soon heard fireworks booming in the distance. They were muffled by the mountain, and I thanked God for that small hedge of protection. The road between Red and West Mountain was quiet as most people were spending the night with loved ones. Me? I was on a mountain I love, in a place I’m not lonely, and feeling more peace than I’d felt in a long time, thankful for the freedom people have fought for me to have and thankful for the freedom that I have to create pieces that inspire me to wake up and take on the challenge of whatever each day may throw at me. Loud booms and all.