It makes sense to me that the Fourth of July be thought of as the start of a season rather than a one-day holiday sectioned off by itself. However, I understand why it takes a single explosive day to capture the true essence of release, and the promise of the Declaration of Independence.

The founding document was conceived, written and revised 237 years ago over a long season of its own, before it became a living piece of history still affecting the lives of ordinary people on this day. It marked the end of “patient sufferance” under tyranny, the end to an “allegiance to the British Crown” and an affirmation of natural rights the American people still embrace.

The actual day is of little significance and might just as well have been the Eleventh of December or the Third of May. But, since it is the Fourth of July, the holiday has become the buoy that marks the beginning of high summer.

The corn couldn’t be “knee high” by the Eleventh of December or even the Third of May. The early vegetables wouldn’t just be coming on in the garden, or buried under inches of snow. There would be no comforting “black shade” deep in the woods and the pond, and lake edges would still be barren of tall weeds and grass.

I like America’s Independence Day coming on the Fourth of July when we know the sight of a thunderhead with a black underbelly means relief to a muggy afternoon. And, as the puddles from the sudden downpour rise up in steam, the asphalt gets a temporary cool-down and momentarily stops sticking to your feet.

We gaze longingly at the sky, hoping for a wisp of a breeze, and then hoping that breeze will be the leading edge of a cold front that will scour the city clean.

The Fourth of July is the beginning of a good time to be sitting on an ice chest full of something cold to drink in your own backyard, watching the grill smoke vanish off into the air and waiting for the fireworks off in the distance that signal high summer finally has come.

Ah, no; the Fourth of July just wouldn’t be the same if it was celebrated on the Eleventh of December or the Third of May.

Linda Brown is marketing director for The Ottawa Herald. Email her at