4th of July

Last Wednesday was the 4th of July, which is one of my favorite holidays. The weather’s nice (yes, usually even here in rainy Washington), and there are barbecues to attend and fireworks to watch. To me, the day feels like the official ushering-in of summer.

This year, since the holiday fell right smack in the middle of the week, Paul and I collectively decided that it would not be practical to try and go out to watch a firework display. We both had to work in the morning, and since the sun sets so late here, we’d be guaranteed to get home way too late if we ventured out after dark. We decided to get out during the day though, and enjoy the warm sunshine after enduring weeks of wet, chilly weather in June. Paul has a fairly new car, a Chrysler Crossfire convertible, and we really enjoy going out in the car on nice days.

We had a very pleasant day. We ended up at Redmond Town Center for lunch (for those wondering, we ate at the Desert Fire restaurant, which is tasty enough but not nearly worth the price). After lunch we got cold drinks at Starbucks and sat on a bench in the sun, in front of some fountains. There were a few kids playing in the water and we relaxed and watched them for awhile.

After it got a little too warm sitting out in the sun, we went back to the car and made our way to Bothell, where we took a nice afternoon walk on the Sammamish River Trail. I love getting out and walking on nice days. The weather was perfect and it felt great to get a little exercise while we spent time together.

We stopped at the store on our way home and got a watermelon and two slices of berry pie to go with the burgers we planned to grill (well, Paul did the grilling) for dinner. As we were eating, I thought about how it really felt like a perfect 4th of July, save for the fact that we wouldn’t be seeing any fireworks.

Around 9:15, we were watching tv when we started to hear some explosions outside. When I was growing up, it was illegal to launch your own fireworks, so we really didn’t hear too many being set off. In Snohomish County though, they’re legal, and in the last couple years I’ve gotten used to a couple neighbors deciding to buy a couple explosives and hearing some random booms. The first summer we stayed home, I was anxious as hell and convinced that the neighbors were going to burn down our apartment complex. By now I’m pretty ¬†comfortable that there will be no fires, and I’m more used to it.

Well, I thought I was more used to it.

Paul went to the window and announced that he could actually see fireworks. I got up and looked for myself, and saw actual big fireworks exploding in the sky. These weren’t just little ones being set off in someone’s driveway, it was like watching a planned display.

The sounds grew more numerous and we walked out into the front yard to see what was going on. As we stood there, the fireworks grew more plentiful and soon there were bright splashes of color all around us. Paul went in and grabbed his camera so he could snap pictures of fireworks above our house.

¬†I’d never seen anything like it. I could turn in a full circle and see fireworks rising above the neighborhood at every angle. As the sun dipped lower and night began to fall, the fireworks just multiplied. By then there were constant explosions echoing down our street. We walked to a little park area near our house and stood there for a long time, watching in amazement. There were people in the park setting off fireworks, and people in the distance. It was like every neighborhood within view had at least a few people with a pretty decent stash of explosives.

“Look, the moon,” I said, pointing. The moon was rising in the sky, full and bright. Paul took some pictures of it, surrounded by fireworks. I don’t know yet how the photos turned out, but the visual effect was pretty breathtaking.

A little before 11pm I finally decided I needed to go in the house and get ready for bed. The fireworks displays were still in full swing. I went in the house, where the cats were not nearly as thrilled with the unexpected celebrations as I was. They calmed down quickly once I shut some windows and climbed into bed.

And I drifted off to sleep, the fireworks booming outside my window.

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