The 4th of July is always a fun time, with good food, friends and family — with the added likelihood of fireworks, outdoor adventures and so much more. It’s one of those memorable times from childhood, but there’s a whole other kind of fun as we watch our kids experience all the fun for themselves. It’s magic. It’s a spectacle. It’s like a million fireflies exploding across the sky, and sending slivers of fire (or fairy dust) to Earth.

In Mrs. Miniver, Jan Struther writes:  

“…[F]ireworks had for her a direct and magical appeal. Their attraction was more complex than that of any other form of art. They had pattern and sequence, colour and sound, brilliance and mobility; they had suspense, surprise, and a faint hint of danger; above all, they had the supreme quality of transience, which puts the keenest edge on beauty and makes it touch some spring in the heart which more enduring excellences cannot reach.”

We all watch in anticipation for the next explosion of light and sound. As kids, could you sit still? Did you run up-and-down; back-and-forth — sparklers safely in hand, and garlands around the neck. Did you experience the large display, or something closer to home. Raymond Chandler writes:

“But I can hardly sit still. I keep fidgeting, crossing one leg and then the other. I feel like I could throw off sparks, or break a window–maybe rearrange all the furniture.”

Then, too, we could just as easily associate fireworks with a magician’s grand display, with lights, grand gestures and misdirection. It has the feel of illusion and indecision. As the bombardment continues, do we stay to see how long the blasts will last; or do we escape — away from the crowds, the fire, the noise, and the volatile colors?

In Snooze: A Story of Awakening, Sol Luckman writes

“The fireworks went on for nearly half an hour, great pulsing strobes, fiery dandelions and starbursts of light brightening both sky and water. It was hard to tell which was reality and which was reflection, as if there were two displays, above and below, going on simultaneously—one in space-time… and the other in time-space.”

In some sense too, in the illusion of the moment, our reality is shatter, utterly destroyed in a trail of fire and a spray of sparks. Anton Chekhov writes: “Suddenly slashing it open, the golden ribbon of a rocket soared skywards; it described an arc and, as if shattering against the sky, burst and came sifting down in sparks.”

The fireworks go on and on…


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