Last night, the Fourth of July, I went to a friend’s house in Ridgewood NJ. Aside from the pleasant company of the hosts and their guests, their home is only a couple of blocks away from the town’s annual fireworks display. When it got dark, we walked to a parking lot and watched the fireworks as they were launched from a field across the steet.
I’ve seen the Ridgewood fireworks before, and they’re always grand. This year was the best they’ve ever done. It was the perfect blend of color, design, and style. The technology of fireworks has improved considerably over the years; when I was a kid there were certainly no fireworks that could explode in the shape of a smiley face!
As I watched the fiery trails arc across the sky and transform into expanding globes of alternating colors, my main feeling was one of gratitude.
– I was grateful that, despite all my vision problems of recent years, I could still enjoy the sight of fireworks.
– I was grateful that I had a “zero-gravity” chair that I could use to get the best view… and even more grateful that, despite weakness imposed by cancer and problems with my feet, I was now well enough to carry that chair from my car to the parking lot.
– I was grateful that I knew why there was a delay between seeing the explosion and hearing it, and that I could use that knowledge to estimate how far the fireworks were above us (about 200 feet, if you’re curious).
– I was grateful that, as we were waiting for the fireworks, I could see the first-quarter moon, Mars, Saturn, Spica, and Arcturus, and identify them for what they were.
– I was grateful for a life that let me have the luxury to travel to that spot, in that time, to watch the year-long effort of the people who crafted those fireworks for the pleasure of other people enjoying themselves.
The people around me were going “oooh” and “ahhh.” I “oooh”ed and “ahhh”ed with them. I don’t know what they felt at that moment. For me, and from me, a thanks to all those who made that moment possible.