One of the most unnerving things about my summer has been the lack of consistency. Life is based on routines. They say that protest campaigns are the most effective when they cause routines to break. Well, the reason is because you are unsettled - your feathers are ruffled by the fact that your freeway on-ramp has been closed because of stimulus money construction. When your coffee is out that day and you have to substitute tea it prickles you. When your boss suddenly informs you there will be a meeting, it is unsettling, and stressful. Every day there are little things that could maintain or upset a person's routine.
I have been unsettled in every way.
Yesterday, I got a backhanded boon. Even though July 4th has been a little on the inconsistent side for me for the past four years, we happened to be in Santa Barbara this year. Now, I would normally try to go and see the fireworks in the most congested part of the city, just like everyone else. Because I'm staying in Buellton, that didn't happen. This year, we decided to drive up Painted Cave Road and watch them from a particular vista that has very important meaning to us.
Standing there, watching the fireworks shower Goleta and Santa Barbara, I remembered everything important that happened at that vista. I remembered the time Christian first let me know he was interested in more than friendship. I remembered the evening he proposed. We even took some engagement pictures in that spot. It is a place layered with meaning - between chaparral, night insects, the glittering cityscape below, night stars, and sliver of a moon, I found consistency. No, I didn't have a normal July 4th, but I did experience it in a place where I have strong roots.
Routines are important. But they aren't the end all be all in life. Sometimes it is okay for them to be broken in order to experience something more wonderful than you could anticipate. If all you did was the same thing time and time again, you would never have a July 4th overlooking the city and the ocean. You would miss out on new restaurants, hikes, clubs, and shows. You wouldn't be living life to its fullest. You'd be treading water.
I don't know about you, but I'll take my deep rooted inconsistent July 4th any day. Well, at least when it comes once a year.