24 August 2007

Sparks and Flames

Summer’s sultry heat has me languishing. No mint julep sipping on front porches here (Sheena, where are your rosemary mojitos when I need ‘em?). I’m a coward to the heat, running for cover in the shade and the sweet serenity of air conditioning.

The worst summers were those I worked at Kennedy Space Center. Out the door each morning at 6:30 AM, gingerly stepping the twenty feet from the front door to the car in the useless attempt to avoid breaking a sweat.

Dwelling on the negative ain’t my style. So I’ve been pondering the goodness of summer. And what’s come to mind the most are two things: the 4th of July, and fireworks.

From Hugh MacLeod's Gaping Void

FloridaDad is a Yankee Doodle Dandee. Most summers find me in his company to acknowledge and raise a glass for the occasion. I think he’s just about forgiven me for getting a permit from the Cape Canaveral fire department to light the candles for his 50th. Good times. Made gooder with the tradition addition in recent years of singing patriotic songs with PJamaMama at Grandma Beach’s as the Ron Jon’s barge launched their sparkly offerings into the sky.

This summer’s sparks came from different sources. Canada Day – oops, sorry, Sheenada Weekend – was my first serving of fireworks, as shown in Sheena’s vid capture:

From what I could see, they trumped the Ron Jon’s offerings. But they paled in comparison to Kimplicated’s faves at Lenox Square in Atlanta. She’d long championed them, but this year was my virgin attendance, up front and in the ash-ridden fallout zone.

Spanks to Kimplicated for this snap.

Big. Bang. Boom. Sparkly goodness and chest reverb. They took my breath away. They do that. Fireworks surprise. You don’t know what’s coming, exactly. You hear the “whomph” of their release, perhaps a trailing light as they catch fire streaking up the sky when you first notice their path. They’re intense. They burn and shine, lighting up the dark where you could hardly see before. The blues are always my favorites.

My last offering was the aforementioned Gatineau competition spied from an Ottawa balcony. Distanced fiery jewels in the setting sun sky, with the launch release again heralding performance. Reminded me of dashing outside after the Shuttle’s sonic boom to watch the ascent’s remainder. Fireworks’ sparks and the Shuttle’s launch: both steal your breath for an amazing few minutes, and then they’re gone. Over. Only smoke ghosts hint of their scene-stealing performance moments before.

I enjoyed these sparks and their passionate colors, but they were too brief. You can’t have fireworks e'yday, after all. Unless you’re on vacation at Disney World. So while I enjoyed them, they have me missing the longer lasting sparkly colors found in a wood burning fire.

I yearn for the cooler weather. For PJamaMama and her squire to once again play WoodFairies and set me up with oak and hickory. To enjoy the strangely satisfying sound of shoveling ash to make way for the next long, slow burn. To carefully layer fire’s trappings: newspaper, kindling, and wood (and ok, some of the “cheater” fire starter dupers). To tend the nascent flames as they inexorably build, their snap-crackle-hiss-pop cadence a soothing, perfect fall evening’s soundtrack. At the apex of intensity, the blue flame is my favorite. Continued tending as the flames take their time to wane, re-sparking as logs shift through the grate into hot red embers, slowly gasping into ash soon again satisfyingly shoveled.

So perhaps I’m not a coward to the heat after all. Mayhap I’m just particular about its form. Fires are more of an investment in time. Summer's fireworks have their place, but I’d rather lose myself in the heat of sultry, slow-made fire sparks in cooler seasons. It’s not a bad thing, being particular. After all, I *am* the Concubine of the Mountain Ash.

Coldplay's Sparks


Jenny Rebecca said...

We hear the fireworks from Epcot every night at 9:15.

Ah the sound of shoveling ash...I miss that. My parents put in a gas fireplace at our house. Saves my step-dad's back from chopping wood, but I still miss the real thing.

Sheena said...

I think I might set that fireplace picture as my wallpaper for today because despite the 95 degree heat and humidity outside I am chilled to the bone in a windowless room all day today.