after a week of loping about under steely skies, today we woke up to blue skies and bright sun shining through the maple leaves outside the window. like desert wildflowers after the rain, small columns of grill smoke began to rise around noon and kept on going. after the barbecue, a large contingent left for the riverside to watch the fireworks; i managed to lose them, but found other people by sheer chance and watched the fireworks from the green building instead. neil diamond sang sweet caroline, and hundreds of thousands of people sang along with him.
there were loads of flashy, multicoloured crowdpleaser fireworks, and in the last two minutes of the show the sky was so thick with light it was nearly tasteless (but not quite) and it hurt to look at it, but the most awesome pyro sequence of all actually occurred about 17 minutes into the 23-minute show. 6 composite shells went up simultaneously and detonated within a few seconds of each other, sending a web of evenly-spaced fine golden threads across almost 160 degrees of the sky; these eventually turned into a shower of spreading, sparking points gradually falling and fading into the night. sandwiched between red, purple, and green smileyfaces and big balls of scarlet fire, the filigree of gold was subdued and serene--anyone can wow an audience with many kinds of flashy explosions in a riot of colour, but i imagine it takes a real gift to do it with just a few of one type of pyrotechnic, in just one colour, set off with sensibility and restraint.
(more on fireworks and thoughts)
(also, did you ever wonder if those marvellous bright colours in fireworks were too good to be true? as it turns out, it's all ok, they're just burning lots of heavy metals and letting the combustion product drift gently over the city. occupants of beacon hill, try to hold your breath.)