Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fire in the Sky - Night Magic

The sun was going down last night and the mosquitoes were having a holiday feast. I was providing. I was headed indoors to escape them, when I looked across the road into the darkness of the park across the way and saw something I'd never seen before. The end of my day was echoing the start of my day; a synchronicity of what I had read earlier in Ray Bradbury's 'Zen in the Art of Writing'; stumbling upon a 4th of July childhood memory of Mr. Bradbury's. An excerpt:


A final memory.

Fire balloons.

You rarely see them these days, though in some countries, I hear, they are still made and filled with warm breath from a small straw fire hung beneath.

But in 1925 Illinois, we still had them, and one of the last memories I have of my grandfather is the last hour of a Fourth of July night forty-eight years ago when Grandpa and I walked out on the lawn and lit a small fire and filled the pear-shaped red-white-and-blue-striped paper balloon with hot air, and held the flickering bright-angel presence in our hands a final moment in front of a porch lined with uncles and aunts and cousins and mothers and fathers, and then, very softly, let the thing that was life and light and mystery go out of our fingers up on the summer air and away over the beginning-to-sleep houses, among the stars, as fragile, as wondrous, as vulnerable, as lovely as life itself.

I see my grandfather there looking up at that strange drifting light, thinking his own still thoughts. I see me, my eyes filled with tears, because it was all over, the night was done, I knew there would never be another night like this.


Now, in the dusk, I looked across the road and into the park and saw a man with his three kids building a small fire. Then, suddenly, the fire became a glowing orange orb lifting up into the night sky. "This is it! I'm seeing a fire balloon!" I thought to myself. "Ray Bradbury's 1925 Illinois has come alive tonight in 2010!" - and I ran to the street for a closer look. It was an incredible sight, just as he said, watching this mystery of fire rising up into the air - an unexplainable orb of fire rising, rising, rising --- higher and higher, burning as it rose till it was just a small, distant, orange dot high and far in the sky.

It truly was magical, from the sense of having never seen anything like it before, and only made sense in light of having just read earlier in the day about "fire in the sky."

Expect the unexpected.

Happy Fourth of July

love, magic, fire,
el po