Smoke and Light Signals

The evening of Independence Day was explosive this year. Fireworks aren’t illegal in our neighborhood, so we were in the middle of what sounded like 18th-century cannon fire for much of the night. We participated in the celebration, too, and had friends over to the backyard. Realm set up two launching areas, so we could social distance. Our guests brought some serious “expodies,” as they called them.

Our next door neighbors started off the evening with some of the best, loudest, and longest fireworks. One particular type of firecracker gave us all a scare. It was called “Nine Lives,” and it made its debut in our backyard. It started firing horizontally instead of vertically and sent us fleeing for cover. Thankfully, we were all far enough away that it didn’t hurt anyone, and Pearl caught the action on her phone. So, just as we were reliving the excitement, and Pearl was preparing the video to send to our guests, our neighbors launched their “Nine Lives” and experienced the same results. They were running, too! We’re thinking quality assurance testing was still in lock down when “Nine Lives” came through the manufacturing line. Our guest and “expodie” expert said either the base of the firework was in need of extra integrity or the video demonstration was misleading. We wanted to keep all of our lives, so that wasn’t a favorite.

We had a beautiful, bright full moon with a glowing halo through the smoke. Its light made the night sky our own planetarium, and we counted six separate locations, not including our own, where the fireworks would burst out of the darkness and light up the night. When the sprays of color showered one side of our living theater, another side would quickly boom and thunder back. Pearl said, “This is how we communicate during quarantine now. It’s how we say, ‘We’re still alive and happy over here!'” We were surrounded in celebration, and it was like no other Fourth of July I’ve ever experienced.