July 6, 2012

Fire in the Sky

Though no consistent tempo can be discerned and drumsticks are rendered superfluous, it’s the boom, crack, pop that make the strange music of July 4th a drummer’s delight.

Every year, where it is legal, people spend their hard-earned money on explosives. I would never do such a thing (since it’s just a stylish money-burning shenanigan), but I sure am glad others do so I can partake in the experience and be taken in by our nation’s evening ritual on the 4th of July: a firework show--or, in our case, a firework warzone.

We gathered on the church property last night around 9pm, though we were late. The parking lot was packed. And so was the sky. People from across town and down the street littered the slanted lawns surrounding the church building to watch in awe as streaks of orange fire soared up high blowing up in reds, greens and golds. You could hear the crowd’s approval: “Woah!”

After finding friends, I sat in a lawn chair, leaned my head against the back and watch the mayhem unroll. There was no structure or program to the show and little regard for the others lighting their fireworks. Everyone was igniting at the same time. It was a perfect chaos, like a dysfunctional family affair that is so amusing the only thing left to do is sit back and enjoy.

Some flew into the air quietly. Others roared upon ignition, barrelling up, then in a screech exploding like a kamikaze. The strands of color faded downward like a wilting flower.

It seemed like the fire swelled in each long slender tube, like an enlarged heart too big for its chest. It was as if it begged to be set free. After the flame blazed down the wick, and all at once, BOOM! It was gone, like a modern-day exorcism. As quickly as it came it left, leaving no trace of its life, no lasting memory. No matter. It was replaced by another, and another. That’s how firework shows go. They are perfect for the ADD.

I could have sat there for another hour. It’s mindless, watching fireworks. The night started with fire in the sky and ended with fire in my mouth. Scott gave me the last of his Filipino cigar. I swirled the smoke around in my mouth, letting it burn. I opened my lips, watching the smoke rise up into the air. The cigar smoke was like the fire inside those fireworks. You can’t quite keep it in.