Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Let Your Colors Burst

Baby, you're a firework
Come on, let your colors burst — Firework, by Katy Perry

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love fireworks and those who have fizzled. I'm not a huge fan of the Fourth of July since my parents moved to Florida. It seems like we're always scrambling for something fun to do and never quite getting it together. My youngest boys are now in the high school marching band, which makes our local parade a lot more fun than it used to be, but that's damning with faint praise. I do love the fireworks, though, which our town does well, right over the lake, just a five minute walk from my house.

When I was a kid, we went to see fireworks every year in Michigan, battling the mosquitoes and walking what seemed like long distances for short shows, but I still loved it, and I thought the rest of my family did, too. Turns out not so much as far as my dad is concerned, who has long since turned to watching the pale imitation of televised fireworks from Washington, DC.

It's so not the same.

Beautiful, etherial, loud, and gaudy, fireworks can only truly be enjoyed live and in person. They are not better on a giant scoreboard or in slow-motion instant replay. You cannot capture their essence on film or digital images, in still or moving pictures.

I love the thrill of the booms and bangs as the sound ricochets off the buildings and rumbles up through the ground straight into my heart. I love the glittering lights and jeweled colors, the smell of the gun powder, and the spidery smoke entrails left behind. I love the collective oohs and aahs of the crowd. While others are ignited by the grand finale, that explosive bouquet at the end, I prefer the individual blooms earlier in the show, so I can pay complete attention to every detail, comparing one to the next.

And that is the best part about fireworks. It is one of the few remaining activities in life that requires you to be absolutely in the moment…because if you're not, you'll miss it. You have to be right there, right then to see and hear and smell and feel the brief burst of joy that only a firework can offer.

Our life is full of missed moments when we're too busy to pay attention. The long Fourth of July weekend is over, but I'm grateful that the pyrotechnics of the holiday once again have reminded me to enjoy our short summer before it flames out, too.

Hope you had a great Fourth. Did you celebrate with fireworks?

No comments: