When I was a child, my family spent many Fourth of July celebrations on the banks of Atascadero Lake, watching fireworks shot over the water. One of these nights, exhausted from a day of sun and water, I thought I saw the fireworks form a smiley face and than an American flag. Later though I wasn’t sure if I’d really seen these formations; maybe I had been dreaming them. Decades went by and I did not see another smiley face or flag. I didn’t see much more than fountains and blossoms and shooting stars.
But recently I saw several sideways smiles, a few Saturns, and hearts going every direction. Alert, in the cold night air, I am certain these fiery configurations exist. I wasn’t dreaming.
The score was 1 to 4, and the Colorado Springs Blue Sox lost to the Sacramento River Cats. A man a row in front of me diligently filled in box scores, keeping up with the plays silently (except for his complaint that he needs to wear glasses).
Another man behind me yelled from the stands as if he were a coach separated from his team so that he had to holler key plays to his team. Go Burns; stay. C”mon Peterson, next one’s a strike. He called out their names: Barton, Martinez, Buss as if they could recognize him as well.
But no matter how hard we chanted “Let’s go Cats!” or how often we rose out of our seats as part of the wave circulating the stadium, we remained the audience, and, from the stage, these players could not even distinguish that it was Super Hero night and that a handful of us came in costume.
With the summer night cool enough to make us want to linger and with a winning score, the fireworks show was a cherry on top. A thoughtfully choreographed display, it featured hearts and fountains and all kinds of wondrous light.
A toddler, who’d been asleep since the seventh-inning stretch, woke in amazement, filled with joy.
I missed Fourth of July fireworks in the US. I always like the big aerial shows that boom over the valley like a Thunderstorm. I like the sizzle and singe of the night sky, the smell of barbecues and cooling lawn.
I also love the curbside show we have with family where we throw blooming flowers, snakes, and strobes into the street with fountains and smokes to round out the show.
Here, there is the sound of fireworks at least every night, a boom (or more) that can cause me to flinch every time. But sometimes the show is spectacular and comes in brilliant colors as it booms across the valley. Sometimes it is so much like home, I feel like I’m small again and home in the desert I grew up in, lying in the bed of the old truck, mom and dad and Heidi ohhhhhing and awing right beside me.