In My Ohio

On Fireworks and Charity

Darren C. Demaree
I’m starting to feel good. The weather has turned. The kids are able to go outside. The Indians are playing again. Iced coffee has become a rational drink choice. When I extend my arms in a victorious stance, the sun can highlight my actual skin in some sort of cosmic acknowledgement of my own gravitas. I have neighbors that give their children fireworks, and they have already begun to light those barely safe, candy-colored explosives.

So, as you take in these wonderful evenings on your porch/stoop/fire escape patio, allow yourself to feel whole and strong on these wonderful evenings. As long as the flash bangs near where you live aren’t quickly followed by the crying of a local youth, your mind should feel free to be lazy down the river of good, positive thoughts. You need to love these times. This is one of the few periods of year that life can be both simple and good. This is for you, now, and that is okay. It is not a selfish thing to enjoy, or more accurately allow you to become a device for joy’s revelry. It’s what we imagine a good existence to be.

After this embrace of a reality that is a good as any dream, allow your arms to move again, away from your own body. The safest and best of this season’s arsenal of celebration is what you can do with your body once it has become centered. It can become the center of activity for others. You feel good, dammit, so why not share that feeling with those Ohioans that currently aren’t feeling akin to the warming weather. Just because the nighttime temperatures will no longer be a threat to their exposed skin, that doesn’t mean they don’t need your enthusiasm and effort.

Find a food bank or a family or just a person on the street and allow these great feelings of yours to spill over into their world. It’s not going to make you feel worse, it’s going to make you feel like your world is so excellent that it couldn’t help but extend itself in an explosive light of kindness.

If you want more organization to it, go coach a sports team. Stay outside with a group of children that love a sport you love, and teach them why it is that this athletic event has made you feel fun and alive your whole life. If corralling kids sounds like too much work, then find an animal shelter that needs help walking dogs or with their adoption process. My dogs shake themselves silly as soon as it warms up enough for longer walks. Why not help out a furry brother or sister? You can sing Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” and they will fucking love you for it. The rest of us might not appreciate your effort, but your spirit will be undeniable.

Please do not second-guess how great you might start feeling. After the winter we’ve had you might want to stay grounded in these early stages of good weather, but don’t. Celebrate it for yourself. We have simple bodies and they need to feel good for a while before they will allow the quality emotions to follow. Take some time for you. Then, when you can no longer stay motionless, start moving around for others. It is not a giving up of that feeling; it’s a sharing of it. We are all Ohioans and some of us haven’t figured out yet that now is the time to be simple and good and together.