Tuesday, July 07, 2009


by Barbara Blue, July 6, 2009
Dedicated to Bettye Johnson

At least since the times of ancient China, fireworks displays have been used to highlight, or to give emphasis and power to was or to commemorate events. Thus, when I attended a friend's 4th of July Life Celebration, and sat overlooking a field beyond that was set up and ready for dusk to fall, my mind wandered to the early scenes of "Lord of the Rings," as Gandalf rode his pony cart full of explosive potential into the Shire. I like the way he was puffing on the ember in his pipe carrying with him the latent spark of fire, the magic still contained.

Everyone was in a celebratory mood, anticipations in the air. People, like Hobbits, are very fond of their creature comforts, and sometimes it takes a pretty big bang to get our attention, to jar our senses out of the velvet-lined boxes we create for ourselves. This was going to be one of those freeing, awesome evenings. The food was great, the wine plentiful, and the guests all happy to be there. Children had a special interest in what they knew or had been told was coming, and as the light faded, the ember glowed, the spectacle began.

Eyes grew wide as tiny rockets flashed apart into bursts of color, amazing mid-air bouquets of fire and noise. Volley after volley shot up in the air, veils of smoke forming in curtains around the spent combustion. Ooo's and Ahhh's were hurd amid the deafening waves of pops and booms, fizzles and sighs. On and on it went, with little delay and constant surprises, until everyone was on the verge of saturation. When the finale started, the best had been saved for a last glorious statement from the Wizard, and no one was disappointed.

Pleased with himself, Gandalf suckled softly, knowing with special delight what he had done. As the air cleared, he departed to his further business, contented with the day. The children felt their tiredness and did not resist going home, being tucked into their beds to sleep and dream of lights in the night sky. Fill with wonder and possibility, the Shire had been renewed. As our friend's life was reflected back to her by all the people who'd come in appreciation of her love and wisdom, she felt a surge of inspiration, a new wind to sail on into the next adventure.

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