Saturday, July 5, 2008

Independence from dark night skies

It looks like the setting sun, but oh, no.

I've been to three fireworks displays this week. That's how much I love loud noises, brilliant colors in the sky, and America.

The first was last Saturday, Rhythm & Booms in Madison. It's the midwest's largest fireworks display, timed to music on the radio. I watched from across the lake, where the fireworks were small but beautifully reflected in the water.

Thursday night, July 3rd, I was on the shore of Lake Michigan, watching Chicago's official fireworks display--similar to Madison's, but we got really close and drew excitement from the huge crowd. I might post some pictures of that night when I get home and upload the photos on my camera. The highlight for me was walking in a giant crowd across Michigan Avenue and down Monroe, all traffic blocked off -- it was definitely reminiscent of a massive demonstration, except we had nothing to protest. I ate a giant bag of Skittles.

But last night--last night was really something else. On the fourth in Chicago, everyone in the city goes all out. It seems as though entire monthly salaries are spent on impressive displays in all directions. We stood on top of a parking garage until we were booted by security. From two stories above every other building around we could see firecrackers going off all around us, from the street below (and, terrifyingly, even one from the parking garage itself) and receding brightly into the distance. Here was the immediacy that Rhythm & Booms had lacked. Everywhere we drove we were right in the middle of the war zone. "Intense" describes it well.

These low quality photo attempts are from Madison's display, and don't do any justice to it, but I figured I'd put them up anyway.

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