July 4th nights smell like sulfur. They sound like thunder or war.
This year, I listened in the house, thinking about love and fireworks.
There is a love that ignites in a moment, soaring into a ring of fire that fills up the sky. It’s beautiful and bright and original, and life has never been so full of light.
One breath, and it’s gone, leaving the black. You didn’t know the world could be so dark.
Wait. Wait for the light to come back. Wait because the dark is terrifying and cold.
Celebrated firework love. We drown in it’s depths but can hardly stand the thirst for it. Watch a movie or hear a song and see the way we live for that incandescent burn in our souls. We are the generation addicted to flashes of intensity.
We find it, bask in it, feel it slip through our fingertips until it’s gone. We wait — lost, our skin burned by its touch and our eyes blinded by its light. Wait. Wait. Wait for it to come back.
Or, walk away. Walk away because even after the fire is gone you know the stars are still there, even though your eyes are too burned too see them.
The stars. The sky show that lights up the world night after night, but we can’t see it for all our lamps. Maybe if we turned them off we would see how light the world is. Stars uncounted shine down on us, chasing the dark a million miles away. Wait. Wait for one to fill up the sky.
Every morning sunrise — it lights up the whole world and shines on your face through your window kissing you good morning. It overflows through every window and fills up every room. The unending luminous hope gives life to the shimmering shady trees and reflects blue on the deep waters of lakes and hearts. It warms your skin and soul.
And that’s Love, the kind that makes the grass grow green and the skies shine down blue on the good and bad of the whole world. That’s love, that only breaks for rain on the just and the unjust. That’s love, that we drink it every day but forget for a flash in the dark.
That sometimes firework love borrows a fraction of Day’s glory and I admit I’m glad for the show. The momentary trembling booms and sparkle tell their own stories and I eagerly listen to my own and yours too.
I’ve seen fireworks. I’ve watched their unfolding and felt my word changed by that momentary twilight morning. I lit up for minute and smiled. Then the dark came. It always does.
I smile in the dark. Smile because I know.
Long after the fireworks have faded and the dim night has whispered the world around, I still wake up to the sunshine.
I still wake up to a smile on my baby niece’s face. I still wake up to music and laughter. I still wake up to strong coffee and red wine. I still wake up to memories unmade and hope. I still wake up to old books and old friends and the forever Truth. I still wake up. Everyday.
Maybe I’ll see fireworks again next year. Or maybe I won’t.
Regardless, life is a beautiful light.