Doesn't that look weird? When you watch colorful explosions in the summer night sky to celebrate the independence of this great land we call The United States of America, you are viewing what are commonly referred to as fireworks. Of course. This is something you knew.
But I speak tonight of just one--which, I assume then would be called a firework. Singular. One. Fire. Work.
The word just looks odd.
But I digress.
So we traveled down the road about 20 minutes to the town where I grew up. The celebration there begins with a parade in the country. Literally, this parade goes down a country highway, beginning at the T-intersection which includes a corn field, a hay field, and a large farm. It ends several farms down the road, where there are about a dozen more houses, a big pavilion, a nice park, and that's it. The end. That's the parade.
It's a huge parade. Ok, maybe I should say that for such a small town area, it's a huge parade. There are fireworks from one of the hay fields that night, too.
Those aren't the fireworks we attended.
The ones we watched were down by the river. (No, we were not in our van...down by the river!--thank you, Chris Farley. We did get there in our van. We parked it at the top of the hill, though.) They close the road to traffic about two-ish hours before the fireworks begin, and hundreds of people come from near and far to get a good place on the bridge.
My idea of a "good place" would be about two blocks west of the bridge. My family let me know that this was unacceptable. They wanted to see the pretty reflections of the fireworks on the water. I'm sure it's beautiful. I may never know. I refuse to believe that being on a bridge for any longer than a millisecond is safe--and probably not even that long. My logic then leads me to believe that sitting on a bridge for an hour or more is probably just really, really bad. We settled for (I cannot believe I'm writing this...) sitting half way between the yellow lines and the white line.
All this being said, I refuse to believe that there is any situation presented in life which does not hold a blessing somewhere in it. Even in the midst of trials and pain, blessings can be found. The blessing of sitting on a bridge over a river to watch a fireworks display is that the air over and under the bridge is in constant motion. Even on a still day, the current in the water disturbs the air above it into a breeze. The end result for us? No mosquitoes. It's been a horrible year for mosquitoes, and yet, we came away biteless, thanks be to God. Apparently the mosquitoes are smart enough to stay off the bridge.
There were four families together. Eight adults. Twenty children. Those big enough to stand mostly did--right at the rail of the bridge. Holy heart failure, Batman. I could picture the water below, black and swirling, just hungry for the snack one of my kids would be for it. *Sigh* Of course, it was fine, but I can never stop my mind from traveling down the Road of Doom, even if it's only a couple of steps.
So then my mind starts swirling, too. It happened earlier yesterday, too. The laundry had piled up in the hamper, we had been running around busy, I had been canning and making jam, the kitchen was a mess, and my head was ready to explode. So here we are, now, on this bridge, and all of a sudden I see my brain, for Pete's sake, exploding above me in the sky.
Picture it: a beautiful, multi-colored circle of tiny lights, popping open, with hundreds more beautiful much smaller circles opening up inside it. It was huge and beautiful and nicely symmetrical, like fireworks would be in a child's drawing.
And then the little circles went nuts. They spiraled all over the place, bringing disarray to what had once been order, creating chaos in the inky night sky.
"Good grief," I shouted, "it's a portrait of my brain!" I was absolutely shocked at how accurately that one firework depicted what had been happening in my brain, for Pete's sake. My Darling hooted. Our friends guffawed. I felt absolutely satisfied--vindicated somehow, as though whoever designed that particular firework was thinking of me, with all of the crazy happenings in my life at this particular moment, and wondered what it would look like against the black sky on the Fourth of July.
Even better? I know I'm not alone. Mama Midwife said she felt the same way this evening.