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  • I have a thing about fireworks--revel in the gluttony of vision in spite of the fact that the Fourth of July has proven dangerous to me. I've torn my a.c.l. running trails in Colorado and had to watch the display laid out on a car hood with my knee on ice packs. I've had a station wagon door slammed on my middle finger, which, though broken, thankfully remained intact. This year I asked my friends to come to me.

    Nicely, one of them offered to drive us to a fair nearby. Even better than fireworks alone. My father was in the Lion's Club and they hosted a week long carnival in my hometown. It was THE event of the season. I met my first boyfriend there. Held hands in the Gravitron. Pulled spun candy fiberglass from rolled paper and licked my painted fingers. The rides, the colored lights, the potential for our small town to be so converted!

    Last night, In line for the ferris wheel, I saw a black-haired teenager in a knit beret. Her eyes caught mine. I did a doubletake, thinking they shone lavender and looked wide as an animal's. It took a surreal moment to realize she had on special effects contacts. I wanted the night to be otherworldly.

    Our odds were improved by traveling to an army base in Kentucky, opened for this night only once a year to the public. Uniformed soldiers checked everyone's license in the car at the entrance gate, so it already felt like we were entering a realm of possibility. I'm a born romantic, to get excited after so many summers of fireworks.

    Fortunately, I brought a friend who is alive with youth, who loaned me her camera for this photo. It may take effort, and thus be a gift, to keep enthusiasm alive in yourself and others. If hope is a thing with feathers, as Emily Dickinson says, it is also slippery as a rainbow trout, and lingers long as a willow firecracker.
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