Of Fireworks, Fireflies, Fingers, and the Fourth of July

bird in the clouds blog

I wonder if the things you see in the shape of a cloud indicate (like Rorschach ink blots) something about your personality and your sub-conscious mind.  Just for the record, Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man often sees cars and other motorized conveyances in the clouds. And I often see…well…food.   I’ll leave you to speculate on what that might mean. :-)

Anyway, like most people, we also frequently see animals, especially fanciful ones. Like the big bird we saw in this cloud from our porch.  Can you see it?

We spent a good bit of time over the holiday weekend on our porch. At least when we weren’t busy mowing grass or tending the vegetable/herb garden or trying to stay one step ahead of the weeds that spring up in my flowers when I turn my back for even just a second.  Regrettably, there was an unfortunate incident involving the ring finger on my left hand and our little electric hedge trimmer. Don’t worry, I’m not posting pictures here of the aftermath, but there are a few observations I’d like to make:

1. I was under the impression that a hedge trimmer would do minimal damage if it made contact with one’s skin. I was wrong.

2. It’s not a good idea to let your mind wander (as in daydreaming, bird-watching, or watching the clouds float by) while you’re using a hedge trimmer.

3. Electric hedge trimmers do have a safety mechanism that’s supposed to cut them off  (I mean the hedge trimmer, not fingers!) if they make contact with non-vegetative material (such as fingers).  However, apparently it takes a second or two for the safety feature to kick in.  It apparently doesn’t recognize fingernails and skin as non-vegetative material.

4. Slicing a third of the way through one’s finger makes it bleed…and bleed…and bleed. A lot.

5. Fingernail beds have many very sensitive nerve endings.

6. Black pepper (as I wrote in this post  about a year ago) truly works in an immediate and almost miraculous way to stop bleeding. It is astonishing to see it in action, if a bit stomach churning.

7. It is really, really hard to floss your teeth when you have a bandage the size of a Polish sausage on your finger.

In an interesting side note, the very first thing I thought after it happened and I was cradling my left hand in my right and watching my cupped right hand immediately fill up with blood was not Oh no, my finger! It was Oh no…what is the emergency room going to cost and how will we pay for it?  Coincidentally, we watched Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko for the first time last night (soon after my accident), and in the opening scene, there was a fellow who cut the ends of two fingers off in a table saw accident and he, too, said his very first thought was I don’t have insurance—how will I pay for this? (A ridiculous state of affairs, I’d say, that that would be our first worry in such a situation, but I guess that’s for another post).

Anyway, garden tool mishaps were only a small part of our weekend. Besides clouds, we watched fireflies and fireworks from our porch after dark. We are fortunate that we can see almost every fireworks display in the valley between here and Asheville eleven miles away. (The picture below taken from our porch is actually of fireworks IN Asheville. There was a lag of about thirty seconds before we’d hear the boom!) We sit on our porch, oohing and aahing, our heads swiveling, as fireworks bloom like flowers everywhere the eye can see to the east and south and west. Often, we can also hear the cheers of onlookers rise up from the valley and we cheer, too, just in case they can hear us.   And a lovely counterpoint to the din and drama of the dazzling fireworks is the quiet and steady semaphore of fireflies—-hundreds of them sending their light messages to each other and to the stars above.

fireworks in Asheville blog

(A not-very-clear picture of fireworks eleven miles away in Asheville, as seen from our porch)

And last night, I was thinking, as I watched and cheered, about how fortunate I am to live in a country founded on such noble principles and ideals as ours, but I also pondered the ways in which we have strayed from those ideals. For example, the fact that my first thought after cutting through a third of my finger was how I was going to pay to sew it back in place. That’s just not right. Our founding fathers would be appalled, and so they should be. So should we all. We could do so much better.

I just wish I had more faith that we ever will. Our former president Bill Clinton once said that “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.”  I do believe that. But I’m trying hard to trust that the people I voted for really believe in the ideals our country was founded on. I’m trying hard to believe that there is going to be real and radical change, a change that doesn’t pander so much to special interests.  (I have just read that our country’s largest insurers, along with hospitals and doctors have hired over 350 retired members of Congress and former Washington government staff members in an effort to influence their old cronies  colleagues.)

Because change will only be real if it is the result of elected officials responding to the needs of the people rather than the influence of special interests.  And that’s the only kind of change that I can believe in.

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22 Responses to “Of Fireworks, Fireflies, Fingers, and the Fourth of July”

  1. Betsy from Tennessee Says:

    Oh My Beth, Hope your finger will be okay… I know that was scary!!!! Glad you had a ‘free’ view of the freworks from your porch. We had a free view of Knoxville’s frieworks from our TV. ha ha

    About our country, I have come to the conclusion that all of our elected officials in Washington (both Dems and Reps) are ONLY in it for one reason—to be reelected. I desperately wish we had term limits since so many members in Congress have been there WAY too long and have lost touch with grass-roots people.

    I see us turning more and more toward Socialism –with our government being totally in charge of us… Scares me to death. Look what a poor job our govt. does with trying to run what it does now (Social Security, Post Office, IRS, etc.) We need LESS govenment and not more. Just my opinion.

    Love you and keep that finger out of the hedge trimmer.
    Betsy

  2. wesleyjeanne Says:

    Oh my God, Beth. I pray that your finger will heal well and quickly. My you have had more than your share of troubles. So sorry.

  3. Judy Says:

    Hi Beth, I sure hope your finger is going to be o.k. and you won’t lose the use of it or anything. It is terrible that we have to think about what health care costs and do without proper care because we can’t afford it.
    I worked for years in state government and if the feds are anything like the state officials, we probably don’t have a prayer. I think it is so sad that we can’t do better. We saw fireworks from where I live, too. In fact, they went on until 1 or 2 in the morning here. I just love that picture of the clouds. I can remember lying in the yard as a kid on a pretty day and imagining all sorts of things in the clouds. Please take care of that finger.

  4. Ariel Says:

    Oh, Mommy, your poor finger! It made my chest tighten up to read this. I hope it gets better soon. At the rate you and Daddy are going, you’re not going to have any digits left at all! I’ll give it a kiss when I get back, and it will be all better. :)

    Honestly and oddly, your simple and eloquent post is the most patriotic thing I’ve seen or read in many months. I feel like our country is in rehab or something, and that it’s learning to walk again, and that maybe its therapist isn’t the best one possible, but the best one we could get. We’re tottering around, a little clumsy and clueless, and I just hope we get well enough to walk, and then to run. I’m just thankful that I’m still proud enough of America to say “we” when I refer to this country.

    I missed seeing the fireworks with y’all. I can’t wait to see you soon. I love y’all!

  5. Ariel Says:

    PS: Did you notice that they have new smiley faces now? :) I’m not sure I’m a fan. :D

  6. clairz Says:

    I loved everything about this post, Beth. Well, except for the part where you get hurt, of course. Your alliteration, your sense of humor after the fact of all that blood and pain, the fireworks story, the Clinton quote, and your hopes for our country. Once again, you’ve woven together a lovely tapestry of many threads (dreaminess, imagination, ideals, and first aid tips!) that I will think about for days and days.

  7. Christy Says:

    Hi Beth, I haven’t posted before but I read your blog and maybe one other person’s (and prefer yours). Can I ask you a question offline?

  8. Di Says:

    Nice photo and very sorry about the finger mishap. OUCH,, that must have hurt like crazy!!

    Di
    The Blue Ridge Gal

  9. Jeff Says:

    It’s going to take a lot to get change that we can believe in. I read a sentence recently that sticks in my mind: “Organized greed trumps disorganized democracy every time.” I don’t remember where I read it, but it surely is true. What we have in this country is organized greed. It does appear that people are starting to realize it and are starting to take action, however feeble that action is. I have no faith in elected officials acting in the best interests of the population – if they did, we would be spending lots of money on renewable energy, closing hundreds of military bases all over the world, and setting up a health insurance system that mirrors what works very well in Canada and in Europe. The only thing that might save us is the Internet but the telecom companies are working hard to shut down the free exchange of ideas that the Internet allows, too.

    On the subject of fireworks: last year, they started going off a week before the 4th of July and continued long after the holiday. This year, there were a few on the 3rd of July and none at all on the 5th. I reckon the economy isn’t as good as all the talking heads trying to spin it are making it out to be.

    I hope the doctor told you that the area of your finger that you injured will be numb for a good long time until the nerves connect again. Do you know that unpasteurized honey is a great anti-bacterial dressing? Much better than Neosporin!

  10. Jayne Says:

    Amen Beth, amen. We know how it SHOULD work, but that is not the reality presently. I hope and pray that as a nation we can do better, and soon.

    Ouch. Oh, I do hope you heal up without any problems. And, it is sad that it was your first thought to think of how much it was going to cost to be sutured up. But, that is reality these days. Keep it nice and clean. If I were closer, I’d be your personal wound care nurse. :c)

  11. june Says:

    Oh man, I’m so sorry to hear about your accident! It’s a good reminder to me to be more careful when using tools. Wishing you speedy healing and little pain – both physical and monetary. Didn’t Sicko make you sick?! It made me wonder about America’s M.O. big time.

  12. Allison Says:

    First, I LOVE the previous post about the flycatchers. Second, that is terrible about your first thought after cutting your finger being about your medical coverage. It makes me angry. I am appalled by the cronyism that still seems to be inherent in our politics. I still am hopeful for change, though.

  13. Martha Says:

    Oh Beth! I’m so sorry about your finger. And especially sorry that your first thought would be to worry about costs. Those feelings are alien to us up here in Canada. We are so spoiled by our universal health care that sometimes we don’t realize what it would be like to be without it. And don’t pay attention to the propaganda telling you folks south of our border that our waiting times kill us. Sure we have our problems, and our system needs some fine tuning, but all in all, our universal health care works very well. I wish the same for all of you! No one should ever have to worry about health care costs.

  14. Clara Melvin Says:

    Beth, I am so sorry about your finger. I am also sorry for the shape our country is in. It shouldn’t be your first thought if you can afford to have it fixed or not. Be very careful around those hedge trimmers!

  15. eemilla Says:

    Ugh! I hate to hear that your finger got intimate with the hedger, and I hope it heals well. My husband is a chef, and he has cut a couple of his finger’s pretty deep over the years. One healed wonderfully, but the other he got the ligament so it doesn’t bend like it should. Follow the doctor’s orders about movement and use even if it feels great; best to err on the side of caution.

    Over at my Soapbox, I posted recently about healthcare, and I want to reiterate: the hoi polloi will never have reasonable healthcare as long as elected officials have free coverage.

  16. colleen Says:

    Reminds me of me last year when I cut to the muscle on the back of my leg and couldn’t walk for many weeks. My son Josh recently got nicked with a chain saw. All it takes is a nick to be serious. He’s okay now but still healing.

    I so agree about the health care. I actually have some now (but didn’t most of my life) but still feel like I slip through the cracks because I don’t agree with so much of what they prescribe and can’t find a more holistic doctor. They sure can sew you up good though.

    Take care!

  17. COuntryDew Says:

    Hope the finger will be okay – that doesn’t sound good! I hope you don’t play guitar or fiddle or anything…

    Healthcare is the elephant in the White House and unfortunately shows no sign of going away. Terrible things are happening in this country.

  18. Betsy from Tennessee Says:

    Me Again. We’re home after a wonderful weekend in the gorgeous North Carolina mountains. I’ll post in the morning. We weren’t too far from you I don’t think. We were near Burnsville. AND–when we drove home, we went through Marshall–which is north of you. Right????? You live in a gorgeous area!!!

    Hope you had a great weekend.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

  19. Shannon Says:

    Ouch!!!!! Good thoughts for your finger Beth.

    After Andrew’s snowsledding accident last year – yep. I understand. My willingness to work a much tougher job was also prompted by the fact that now we have full medical coverage for everybody in the family – thankfully as a result of a Union.

    I’m completely pro-Socialism for medicine. It works wonderfully in other countries – despite what propaganda laden bullshit media in America would have us believe. Hint: Those folks saying that have the most to lose on the money chain. Nothing good has come for us as a result of “insurance” and such.

    I’ve also lived overseas and seen it in action – and it ain’t nothing like they’d like you to believe.

    I’m crossing my fingers for Obama’s new plan – and simply audacious in hope to make the richer pay a tiny slice for the rest of us. I want him to get in there and CHANGE WHAT WE ELECTED HIM TO CHANGE.

    Healthcare and Climate Change are my biggie two. Shan

  20. ginger Says:

    Ouch! The first thing we think about when injured or sick is, “Oh, no, how much is that gonna cost,” and “BE CAREFUL CLIMBING THAT TREE! WE CAN”T AFFORD A BROKEN ARM!”

    Don’t know that we will find a solution. Finding natural remedies and self-treating most everything minor is a great start. Never heard about black pepper. Cool.

    On another note, aren’t fireflies the absolute best.

  21. debbie murphree Says:

    I love the picture of the mountains and the beautiful sky. ABSOLUTELY breathtaking!

  22. (22) Thirty Days of Grateful Praise: Black Pepper « Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl Says:

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