Before I moved here less than three weeks ago, I had only visited briefly on trips to somewhere else. Since then, I’ve gotten to see more of the state through assignments, but there’s nothing like Independence Day to bring out the life in a place. First, I traveled to Pawhuska, where I saw cows paraded with ribbons on their tails, a girl dressed as the Statue of Liberty, and a sea of red, white, and blue apparel. Later, in my North Tulsa neighborhood, I didn’t have to leave my street to find a place to celebrate. My kind neighbors let me talk with them on porches and photograph fireworks they set off in their yards. Growing up on a farm in Eastern Kentucky, my family would off fireworks in remote fields, us watching the isolated bursts from quilts in the grass. Here, color and light erupted above every house in sight, high above power lines and crackling in the streets. Kids bravely set off small lights only to run as fast as they could to hide behind the leg of a parent or family member. This morning, on my way to work, the residue of shells and paper lined my street, and I was reminded of last night and how many beautiful nights I have ahead of me here in Oklahoma.