I think I’ll just speak freely tonight, if that’s alright.
I found the most delightful way to watch fireworks last night. Don’t sit and stare, but wander through your neighborhood.
I needed to go for a walk, needed fresh air and limber legs. I ventured outside to find that it was too cloudy to see the blasts at Lake Eola, so I just started walking….just….walked.
Block after block, some neighbor or another had something blasting into the night. POP! CRACK! BAM! My head would shift left, turn back right. The deep night was filled with explosive gratitude. The heavy oaks and their dripping moss caught the reflections of the reds that burst suddenly over on that street, then would suddenly blink with the bright blue of a firecracker over here on this street. The smell of the sulfur, the burning end of this cacophony, drifted though the humid air on a mist that was wrapped in smoky eddies. I was immersed in the celebration, not watching it.
I passed neighbors drinking beer, lighter in hand, ready to set torch to something everyone else felt looked sketchy. There was a lawn chair in every driveway. Coolers stacked with beer were, by now, empty. I saw kids sway sparklers gently in their hands. Our precious flag was either worn or waved.
Beneath this celebration you begin to feel that everyone is a star in this show, capable of shining their own light whenever they wish. Especially tonight. No one was going to stop them from celebrating either the birth of a country, the right to party on a random Sunday, or just the right to set of fire crackers. Hallelujah, ya’ll have fun. Celebrations are pretty much just an extended form of gratitude.
I found all this particularly thrilling because this agoraphobic man was wandering the streets at nearly 10pm in the evening, perfectly lured in by the beautiful sense of celebration, lured in by this common desire for enjoyment, seduced to express some idea of shared gratitude. I found myself branching out to every moment I passed….reaching with long limbs, almost begging to be included in all of this shared love.
At some point previously in my life these noises, these people, these smells would have amounted to something akin to the Blitzkrieg. I would have shuddered, huddled in place, waited for it to end.
But, last night I saw how quickly that shift was diverted by watching others celebrate their lives, their freedoms. This agoraphobic man felt at ease, pleased and so grateful his journey has been blessed with joyous people.
And by the time I got home? Well, I don’t want it to sound greedy, but with what I had experienced, I felt every bit of this celebration was just for me…..I’ll take every bit of progress I can. 🙂
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