Sunday, July 6, 2008

What We Saw

From our spot on the hill, we watched fathers swinging gleeful babies in the air. We watched babies grown into little girls throwing tantrums about the ants at their feet. We watched mothers squirting whipped cream into the wide-open mouths of unbelieving boys. We watched people reading and kids playing. We watched kayaks and canoes on the water.

The sun set, chased by a splinter-crescent-moon. The sky got dark, and one by one the stars came out. The Big Dipper dipped above us as we gazed across the river at the city skyline as it began to light up.

The fireworks started after the 1812 Overture as we were recovering from the concussions of the Howitzers across the lake.

There were white fountains and rockets with spiraling tails that ejected barely-visible projectiles into the cloudless black. There were spreading florets of red, blue and white. And green. And orange. There were swarms of vectors shooting every which-way. There were bright red dots that climbed noiselessly and exploded into orange rain. There were hissing and cracking embers. There were tails of comets that seemed to reach down to the water. And when the grand finale came, my jaw went slack.

Streaming fountains shot skyward, two, three, four at a time. Bursting colors exploded upon bursting colors. The sky was full of fireworks unfolding on top of each other, and glowing trails of fireworks fell earthward while more spirals twisted into the night sky. In the last few moments as the crowd began to roar, they must have launched more fireworks than they had in the entire twenty minutes we had been watching. Tears of amaze came to my eyes.

Afterwards, we sat for a while and then began to pack our things. The sea of people around us began to move. We walked in the general direction of the parking garage where the drivers there were certain to face a long wait before they would get back onto the street. Then we rode our bikes until the mob on the sidewalks the the cars backed up on the street got so thick that we had to dismount until we came to the trail where we took a shortcut away from the crowd to where we had parked our car a couple miles away from the hill.

When we got home, the dog had many, many things to tell us about the many things that had transpired while we were gone, and to tell you the truth, he hasn't really finished his telling, yet. But, oh my, whatever he heard and whatever he saw paled for sure in the face of what we saw from our spot on the hill in the breeze by the lake.

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