fireworks: what makes you stand still?

fireworks were a big deal in my family growing up. for years, we'd all load up in the truck or the station wagon and head over to the state fairgrounds in raleigh on the fourth of july. later, we watched the fireworks on the fourth at the mudcats stadium out near zebulon. and sometimes, just for fun, my dad and my uncle would set off firecrackers in the field at our family's farm. they'd light them up and then run like crazy to get out of the way and get a good view.

since then, i've seen fireworks in a massive crowd of people in downtown chicago, from my apartment window in the baldwin building by the durham bulls ballpark, from a back deck in chatham county surrounded by trees and friends, at the waterfront in wilmington, from a big garden in paris, at the top of a double ferris wheel...

and i love them every time.  i love the way they make us look up.  i love how big they are, and how loud.  i love that they exist for no other reason than to celebrate.  i love the way they make a whole group of children and adults with very little else in common say "ooh" and "aah" in unison--the adults often the most awestruck of all.

most of all though, i love the way fireworks stop me in my tracks.  always, they make me stand still.

i'm curious:  what makes you stand still?


  1. To me, there are a couple reasons:

    1) They're uncommon! You aren't used to bright lights in the sky and loud noises like that.
    2) Societal norms. It's expected to be still during fireworks, just as you're expected to face the door in an elevator.
    3) Spellbinding performance. A firework show is like a musical (and, arguably, any other good theater work). The sights and sounds are all coming together to create a work of art! And for you to not stop and take notice of a good work of art would be a true shame.

    1. chris, i may repeat this many times in my life: "And for you to not stop and take notice of a good work of art would be a true shame." nice!

  2. You mustn't forget the amazingly beautiful fireworks over Magic Castle in Disneyworld!! Or the Laser Light show at Epcot......Your Dad truly loved fireworks and made everyone around him love them too. "Oh.....excusa me for liff--ving....""

    1. don't you worry. those things are all unforgettable.