Written by Morgan Foster, Outreach Coordinator (Team New Hampshire)
There’s a marching band in my ear, bonfire in my nose, and lite-brite canvas occupying my eyes. My mind is searching for a camera but my hands are paralyzed, carefully thinking about how reaching for such a device might disrupt an all encompassing sensory experience. It’s the night of July 4th and there are fireworks exploding like spiders across the sky. It’s an undeniably spectacular sight. For a moment I consider how I can achieve the best of two worlds – appreciating life in the moment and preserving its memory. At this thought, my mind starts racing and I feel overwhelmed by my surroundings – groups of people swarmed together, only loosely connected by what’s happening above the Manchester Notre Dame Bridge. Colorful bullets of fire shooting into the sky leaving behind clouds of ashen dust. Led Zeppelin blaring from 8′ speakers, creating a cacophony against the rhythmic drumming of the fireworks. Glow sticks dashing through the night, children exciting the crowd. I enjoy all the feelings igniting my soul; inspiration, enthusiasm, stress, and chaos. It’s a beautiful disturbance.
I return to thinking instead of feeling. Should I grab my camera? Something tells me this social experience will soon be a past time, eradicated from our American way of celebrating life. I quickly snap a shot and take a video, hurriedly trying to capture the feeling of my actualization on film. Impossible. I carve a memory of what the experience feels like and try to remember how the focus of my binocular perspective evolved.
I wake up the next morning with the same prospect I fell asleep contemplating – that fireworks will soon become a rarity or a generation’s faded memory. I try to bury the thought and go about my daily routine – earl gray tea and cinnamon spiced oatmeal, running clothes and sneakers, inspirational quote for the day. I set out for 5 miles of pavement pounding, certain I will find some clarity.
I’m even more determined to investigate my curiosity towards the future of fireworks. The first place I look is enough to hammer down an uncertain nail. ABC News reports that at least 20 states banned fireworks for the 4th due to the risk of sparking a wildfire like the recent Colorado fire that destroyed a neighborhood of over 350 homes. 2010 studies found there was 15,500 fires and $36 million in property damage as a result of firework mishaps. What has always felt like a surge of powerful pride now feels like a break to earth’s delicate bones. I can’t help but notice how my understanding of the world has changed. I feel inextricably connected to the earth…deeply in love with the planet…enough so to deem it one of my finest companions.