The Fireworks Display in Scarsdale, New York

The evening air is calm, and a warm breeze ruffles the grass. People’s voices surround you, and the general hubbub is punctuated periodically by the whine of a balloon as it flies into the air, squealing children chasing it. Teenagers on bicycles go by, their bodies jolting as they pedal over the grass. Adults carry light lounge chairs, and others carry blankets to sit on, as everyone converges by the fields near the Scarsdale pool to watch the fireworks. It is free for everyone who wants to come.

People run and play as the sky darkens, even the very old caught in the spirit as they help the tiny children chase their balloons or toy cars. Some people have ice cream, and direct others to the cart where they found it. Once people have taken their places, the sound of running is quieted, and people talk as the stars emerge. It is 9 o’clock, and the fireworks are due to begin.

Finally, a thunderclap of sound, and gasps are heard before everyone is silent. Light arcs into the sky, and then explodes, the night turning briefly into day. Streamers of light arc down, and people gasp. Small children’s high voices ask if it has begun.

The fireworks cover the entire sky, the blues, yellows and golds intermingling and shining. Sometimes they form shapes, such as a happy face, or a butterfly. The lights of the explosions illuminate the smoke trails that form, a latticework of lace. Some fireworks are loud, the sound louder than planes overhead, but not enough to be painful, just thrilling. Several explosions go off at once, willowy streamers falling as greens and purples crackle overhead, and someone asks if this is the grand finale. No, they are told. You will know when it is the grand finale.

More willowy lights, and crackling, and then more of the loud explosions and lights, the latticework of smoke now like a stratus cloud.

And then the high pitched whine, louder than the balloon before, that signifies the simultaneous firing of the rockets. Explosions fill the sky, oranges and greens, willows mixed with spangles and the sound of crackles and booms. People gasp, and they do know. The last explosion is the largest, covering the entire field and the area beyond. Afterward, people sit still for a time, as the echoes fade.

Conversation resumes, and people stand from their blankets. They are dark shapes now, moving against the stars as their eyes adjust to the darkness. Most head toward the corner of Mamaroneck, carrying their blankets and chairs, and the teenagers on bicycles weave their way off the field. The walk home ends the middle of summer. Those in cars face a long time getting out, and it best to join the throng of walkers as they meander home, idly, happily after the show.

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