Fireworks are a fairly standard tradition to accompany the Fourth of July. I try to watch them every year. Only this year, rather than just enjoy the visual spectacle, my brain wandered to overanalyze the moment.
My take-away from the evening… life is like a fireworks show.
First, there’s all sorts of build up. Seriously now, raise your hand if you typically plan ahead for which fireworks celebration you’ll go to, or what vantage point you’ll use as your perfect location to see the display (or to escape the onslaught of traffic after the fact). At any rate, hours before tonight’s fireworks show, I happened to drive near where it takes place, and the locale was already packed.
I know. I know. The only way to get the best seats at a fireworks show is to get there ridiculously early. I do know that. But… not being keen on being immersed in crowds of people (particularly the self-important variety and their ignorant-sounding, faux-intellectual, incessant commentary that can really detract from otherwise nice experiences like fireworks displays), I personally believe an equally beautiful fireworks experience can be appreciated from secret viewing locations without the throngs of people getting in the way.
Next, there’s the anticipation. The sky darkens. Consulting one’s watch… not time yet. Other fireworks going off in the distance. When will the fireworks start? Yeah. From the beginning of the coloring of the sky as the sun sets until the first spark of light reaches towards the nighttime, the feeling is nothing but anticipation.
And when the fireworks show starts… BOOM! It’s a jaw-dropping spectacle of beauty and splendor.
Then, all too fast, comes the finale. It’s constant, fast, intense, and gorgeous. And without any real warning, it stops. Suddenly. As suddenly as it began. You momentarily hold your breath that maybe there’ll be another burst in the night sky, but there’s not. It’s over. With a round of applause and a cheer, memories (and maybe a bit of smoke) are all that remain.
And for everyone who witnessed the beauty and splendor of the display… life immediately goes on. Sure, there’s the fight to get out of the traffic jam, but hopefully it was all worth it… for those few, fleeting, moments of beauty and splendor, hopefully all the build up, anticipation, and difficulty navigating traffic, was worth it.
Or maybe they were just pretty fireworks. Happy 4th of July.