Archives » July 5th, 2003

July 5, 2003

The Fourth

We don’t have any Fourth of July traditions. I know some people always get together with the same people every year, or go to the same park, or go somewhere to have a barbeque or something like that. And they always need to have hot dogs, or watermelons, or chili cheeseburgers, or something. But the key point is that it’s a groove they’ve gotten into, they do it every year, and they can spend the early summer looking forward to the Fourth and having their [fill in the blank] just like last year. We don’t have that. We fly by the seat of our pants every year, and if we make plans at all, we make them at the last minute. Some years we don’t even go out at all. Sometimes we’ll wander into Carson City and watch the fireworks dance above the Ferris Wheel and the Big Zipper at the Mills Park carnival. Sometimes we’ll just go out to a nice dinner and let everyone else have the fireworks to themselves.

This year we headed up to Virginia City to watch the fireworks on the Comstock. Virginia City occasionally puts on a very interesting show on the Fourth. In years past, the shows I’ve seen up there, they’ll shoot off a few fireworks, and then have to stop the show while the fire brigade rushes across town to put out the brush fire that just started. Once the flames are out, the pyrotechnic guys will get a thumbs up, and they’ll shoot off a few more shells. On the other side of town a thin wisp of smoke will start rising from the sagebrush, and soon will erupt into flames. The fireworks stop, the hook and ladder rushes downhill to the new hotspot, and puts it out. Then it starts all over again. It’s really been quite comical the times I’ve seen it, and some of the blazes really took hold and grew into massive conflagrations. When thirty seconds of fireworks lead to ten minutes of out-of-control wildfire, you know you’ve had a good Fourth.

Anyway, this year we headed up to Virginia City again. This time we found a nice hill a little ways outside of town, so that if the whole town suddenly started burning down we’d be able to watch from a safe distance. I mean, Virginia City has burned down a couple of times before in history; there’s no reason to think it won’t happen again. The fireworks started, and to our great surprise there wasn’t a single fire started all night. I was certainly expecting it to happen. Some of the shells seemed to go off a little too close to the ground, sending a shower of sparks hurtling downwards. Nothing, though. Not a single ember took hold in the dry sagebrush. It was a little disappointing, actually. We go up there to watch two shows, and we only got one this year. I feel like I was cheated.

I brought the camera along to see what kind of pictures I could get. I shut off the flash, put the camera on long exposure, and proceeded to use my chest as a tripod. Surprisingly, not all of the pictures were ruined that way. Some of them actually turned out quite decent. Most of them have this little squiggle effect that I think would make the fireworks much more impressive in real life. You take what you can get, I guess.