Waiting for Fireworks in Windy Chill

Image courtesy of srboom.com
Image courtesy of srboom.com

Much ado about nothing.

Let the wind find an occasion, any will do.

It’s bitter: we draw close to escape the freezing bite.
But then, the magic. Each time the lights are flung upwards, we revert to child’s stares, gasps of pleasure, chorus of ‘Aaaahs’. The last two minutes impossible to fathom in gathering of smoke-clouds.

I’ve never been without them.

At first they were empty ritual, a sweetener to parades. Post-prandial cognac to stadium choreography to mark the soporific afternoon of a people so inured to bread and circuses they could gasp no longer.

So I suppose resistance would best describe me – indifference… until…

A chill descends on the city one night in December.
Machine gun rhythms in streets howling with wind, with sirens, with rage.
Walls came tumbling down, words recaptured meaning, crying for happiness seemed normal and fear disappeared for a while. Crowds gathering, kissing strangers.

Then more popping sounds. Not fireworks these: snipers. Each sound could bring you to your knees.

I shiver in my nest of contentment.
So now I put those darker fireworks most firmly in a box. And go out with my children to mimic their awe.

I’m posting this as a response to the prompt over at dVerse Poets, where Kathleen Everett has us writing wind-inspired stories. In my memory, fireworks are not summery displays of gaiety, but hanging around waiting for something to happen, wind-chill factor rising and rising.

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37 thoughts on “Waiting for Fireworks in Windy Chill”

  1. I love the way you capture the magic of fireworks, Marina Sofia. They really do take your breath away, and I know exactly what you mean by that childlike wonder. The wind may be bitter, but it’s possible to forget it for those moments when the displays sweep you away.

  2. i love fireworks but i too have memories of wind-chill waits for the bells to ring midnight… the turn in this hit me unexpected… a different kind of “firework” that no one wants to experience… very well written marina

    1. During the revolution in Romania, that’s what happened, and our Christmas and New Year was spent in snow, uncertainty, rubble and fear. So perhaps that’s put me off fireworks for life… but every now and then I get distracted…

      1. we had a rescue pittie who would hide in the bathroom under the sink whenever she heard fireworks. She never learned they were a celebration.

  3. I’ve never been a big fan of fireworks. My husband loves them, but I could take them or leave them. And if it’s cold and windy out, I’d rather leave them. I like your connection between fireworks and their more ominous counterparts. Peace, Linda

  4. I can definitely understand your thoughts on fireworks, Marina Sofia. I believe you are writing about December, 1989. Certainly nothing peaceful about that time for you.

  5. Fireworks are definitely a winter thing for me too.. summer is way to light this far north.. so freezing while waiting is definitely very familiar for me.. I like how you used the war-like words here that put a chilling parallel to less benign explosions elsewhere… I think it summarizes some of the near-loathing I feel for fireworks.

    1. Ah, finally someone who understands! In England as well, fireworks are mainly used for Guy Fawkes (5th of November) and there’s usually a real cold spell at about that time. So I remember a lot of shivering and hanging about, waiting for… something which was not that spectacular, to be honest. Here in Switzerland and France, of course, it’s more of a summer thing for their national holidays (1st August and 14th July respectively).

  6. Taking what I think of as a childhood pleasure and then showing the other side, the fear and danger. Really moving. Thank you for sharing this with us tonight.
    My husbands family is from Romania – they left during WW2 – he has always wanted to see the country where his father was born.

  7. I have good memories about fireworks ~ I took them for granted too until we couldn’t have our own fireworks due to regulations ~ Just imitate the child’s joy and wave ~

  8. ugh, what a turn in this one…from fireworks to gun shots…
    and that will put a chill to your bones…and the fireworks are no
    longer fun when there is a dead body on the other end.

  9. I can certainly understand your feelings. We had a family in our neighborhood, part of the Polish Diaspora from WWII. they always feared loud noises, especially fireworks. It brought out too many memories of gunshots and destruction. Powerful write.

  10. wow, so powerful your imagery, so magnificent your word smithing; really liked the feel, look, & impact to this; several quotable lines. Odd how much more it becomes when it is based on real experiences. My father-in-law had PTS from WWII; fireworks always reduced him to the fetal position. He was a survivor of the battle of Okinawa, where the Marines suffered 90% casualties.

    1. Oh, Glenn, what a sad story! Thank you for sharing that painful bit of family history. I know some people from Sarajevo who still have trouble crossing a main street (for fear of snipers) and others from Belgrade who keep hearing heavy artillery shelling (twenty years after the events).

    1. Oh, my, that’s what I call a rough neighbourhood… When I first moved to London, I was very nervous about walking down the streets alone at night and would start running if someone asked me the time. Took me a while to understand that it was a relatively safe place… even safer now, in dull old Geneva… Miss the excitement!

  11. What a great way to celebrate two wonderful things – I was right there seeing those fireworks with you – then the poignancy and shock of machine guns…most moving.

  12. This shows me how different things mean different things to people across the world, MarinaSofia. Though I do not mind fireworks from afar, and my daughters enjoy them tremendously, your poem has changed my perception. And forced me to relook at its meaning. This moment at least.

  13. Wind connotates something different for everyone…that must have been so frightening! I fear earthquakes here on the west coast. Well done write on the prompt.

  14. Although my childhood experience of fireworks was positive, during these last few years I begun wishing mankind would wise up a bit and invent some noise-less fireworks. The chill I feel nowadays really comes form the war-like effect to them. They kind of lost their beauty because of this…

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