Sitting here in my super-comfortable armchair watching the Independence Day celebration, my mind returns to past Independence days when we were young and so was our country.
In past years, at the end of Remembrance day, the four of us, husband, children and myself got dressed and left the house to join the world in the upcoming celebration, in this case to the Central Carmel where all the frolicking will happen, as it did every year. We took some blankets with us because we knew we would have to sit on the ground as soon as we were lucky enough to find a space on the Panorama Hill from where we could watch the fireworks. By the time we arrived, we already had to fight for a spot because many people before us had already settled down and were now waiting full of expectation for things to come. I don’t know why it always took such a long time to wait, or maybe it just seemed so, when you sit on the cold ground and nothing happens. Then, finally, the much expected first hiss.
“There, there," shouted my son, "look, it’s red and yellow!"
“Where, where is it," cried my daughter, who sat a bit to the left and missed the grandiose sight of a thin sprinkle of ascending light which came and went in a split second.
But more and more would come although after long, empty intervals. Thin, anemic and very modest. Kind of shy. Did I hear once that this kind of entertainment, invented by the Chinese I think, is very expensive? I had no idea how much the show we watched had cost us, but there was hardly any magnificence, while it certainly did not lack spectators’ enthusiasm. Every tiny little sprinkle which came up was greeted by the public’s awe- filled “oohh’ and “aaah.”
Time passed between one firework and the other, and sitting there on the ground we felt quite cold. We couldn’t decide whether to continue sitting on the blankets or throwing them on ourselves, but no matter how bad the lack of comfort- we had to attend the show until its very end. Then we finally stood up from our primitive seating arrangements.
By that time my feet, or at least one of them had gone to sleep but we were finally standing and felt -very happy that we had witnessed the grandiose show.
“There is no other country like our country” we heard from all sides, and “Long live Israel who knows all about fireworks!”
The celebration was in full swing. Musicians were playing and my daughter soon got lost in a reel of folk dancing. My son was looking around for a kiosk selling ice cream.
My kids were always hard to understand, here I was shivering with cold and he wanted ice cream!
Penetrating the big crowd and getting sprayed with that obnoxious white stuff which children believed to be the height of glee, we loved the festive atmosphere, the loud music, the dancing, the big crowd the shouting and screaming and of course I did not feel tired as I would feel now under such circumstances. We arrived home quite late and settled down in front of the TV to watch the singing and dancing, going on everywhere in the country. It was a never-ending and colorful show which went on until the early morning.
And now I sit in my chair and watch it all on TV. The ceremony of kindling the torches, so moving and poignant. This never changes throughout the years. The artistic program afterwards was a bit disappointing and although the fireworks which I watched from my balcony were gorgeous, I remained kind of detached, without the “aah” and the “ooh.”
The only explanation for this being that we have become satiated and jaded watching great dancers, singers, musicians and we’ve reached the point that we are hard to please, which is regrettable.
Throughout the years we’ve lost the enthusiasm and the sense of adventure. Where have they gone? I personally decry the loss.