They rocket and boom, in flash-spark crackling explosions and fizz-shhh waterfalling displays of light, filling the three-quarter moon sky with their fearsome spectrum of light.
Some corkscrew and twirl, giddily flickering their luminescent glow about, coloring the ink dark. Others, quiet upon ascent, explode unexpectedly in a raucous fury of blazing atoms. A few do the opposite: shooting upward in a blustering whirr, only to produce a low-glow pop before winking out, disappearing into the night.
Each is different in its impact – on the gathered crowd, on the late evening ozone – and some are felt more deeply than others, reverberating through both body and atmosphere in rippling concussive waves.
Surrounded by members of my immediate family, I watch the flare-up eruptions, feeling the shatter-shake ripples of each detonation tremor through my bones. And I think, This is us.
One of the fireworks does not go off correctly. It barely gets off the ground before it ruptures, which sends the system into emergency shut-down mode.
We wait it out, knowing the show will go on – eventually – and again I think, This is us.
This is us.
This is the way my family (dys)functions.
We wander, climbing individually upwards – some quickly, others barely, ‘how far’ a matter of both perspective and contention – through the dark unknown.
Flinging wide, we corkscrew in our own directions, dancing light.
We burn out.
We go off, often in unequal parts bluster and boom, not always with prior warning, and – occasionally for some of us, often for others – at the wrong time. With polarizing results.
We are predictably explosive. Most of us, anyway.
Others… Not so much.
Sitting in the sand, staring at the sky, watching for signs of light through the burnt-smoke post-error atmosphere, I can’t help but think of this fiery display as a metaphor.
And when the acrid aftermath of the too-low explosion finally clears, the colorful conflagrations again revel, shooting through the night sky with gleeful abandon.
The second half of the fireworks display began only when it was safe to start again. There was a pause in the show.
For us, the pause has lasted a decade.
Now the smoke has cleared.
We’ve begun again.