Friday, January 17, 2020

Burn the sky down

Catch it while you can
Orlando, FL
January 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Who doesn't like a good fireworks display?

It is the quintessential exclamation point to a great party. As American as baseball (without the cheating), apple pie (reduced-sugar recipe), and Chevrolet (but not the ones imported from Mexico, because 'Murica!)

But it's 2020. And in between sharing and looking at cat videos, the digital literati have decided that fireworks may not be the most eco friendly way to celebrate something. They scare puppies and kittens. They light brush on fire. They annoy the daylights out of the old man down the street who's been cursing your kids for playing stickball in front of his yard since before they were born.

And they can hurt us. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says 9,100 Americans were hospitalized with fireworks-related injuries. Over one-third were children, and I'll leave the visuals out of it, because they're jarring.

And yet, they retain a certain elemental appeal. Who doesn't like to watch lots of stuff get blown up in the sky? Who doesn't want to stand on the ground and go "wow" over and over? Who wouldn't be moved by a pyrotechnic dance in the heavens?

Coordinated drone swarms are starting to replace fireworks here and there, and I'm guessing we'll see this trend continue. Because, hey, technology!

But as I stood beside a giant lake with my family and watched the sky fill with the very signature of Americana, I couldn't help but think that in the right hands, at the right moment, under the right conditions, there was nothing quite like a good old fashioned fireworks show.

We should take them in while we still can. Because nothing lasts forever.

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