Archive for July 23rd, 2008


Fourth of July Fireworks

Fourth of July Fireworks

“Remember remember the Fifth of November,

The Gunpowder Treason and Plot”

I celebrated Guy Fawkes day for the first time last year while in Scotland. As an American I thought that the celebrations were for Guy Fawkes and what he almost accomplished. Maybe just in Scotland.

Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano in the middle of Edinburgh, was the site of many celebrations on this holiday. When I think of fireworks I imagine a train professional launching them from a carefully selected and prepared field to avoid any chance of fire. These were not trained professionals. Sure some fireworks were launched straight into the air and a few at lower angles due to unfamiliarity of the small explosives.

But there was also a way going on.

Two sides fought that night on that old volcano. Fireworks streamed down from atop the crags and shot towards a group on the lower slopes below them. The lower group returned fire with a majority overshooting the cliffs; a few exploded brilliantly on the sides.

I was concerned about this flagrant disregard for fire safety. Earlier that week a friend told me that Arthur’s Seat caught on fire most years on Guy Fawkes Night. My minds eye pictured a small blaze starting on one side then sweeping up and over the park to leave nothing but a blackened trail behind.

There was a fire. In fact there were at least two fires. The first was a bush at the base of a hill covered in what I believe was gorse, the second a small tree at the base of the crags. The first fire burned the single bush and then went out. The second had some helpful students (chemists likely) throwing alcohol on it to, you know, help it along.

As I left a single fire truck arrived to put out the fire, a fire whizzed over the top of the truck and struck grass just as the truck pulled up.

Later that week the southern half of my state was on fire.

I still wonder why such a damp country has such strict fire safety rules.

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