It’s firework season in Vancouver. I missed a big event on July 1 because I didn’t want to deal with transiting through downtown while 350K people who like fireworks are also transiting, but there are much bigger reasons why I have no use for fireworks.

The main reason is that they are just ugly compared to the beauty of the sky. I say look how many painters and poets have attempted to capture the beauty of the sky, or referenced it in their love of nature or wonder at it. Apologies to Turner’s painting of train smoke, but neither that nor mere human-man fireworks come close to the gorgeousness of the sky. No camera can capture it.

Now, my bias is not hating crowds and noise. It’s also that my colour acuity is in the highest human ranges, top four percent. Subtly rippled, shaded, highlighted and textured clouds send me into a trance of wonder, easily. It’s a good thing I don’t drive a convertible, let’s just say.

And cheesy boom-boom fireworks, explosions of chemicals in the sky, can’t touch the beauty of a sunset, or broad expanses of cirrus or cumulus clouds on a bright day. Even low stratus in a drizzle is amazing, geographically, though I don’t usually wonder at its beauty! Seen to much of that here in Vancouver. Even a night sky, out of the city’s light “pollution” is more beautiful than fireworks, something akin to a glittering embroidered blouse, but tented above us. Wow.

And yes, golly gee, it’s amazing that transitory patterns can be traced in the sky in such a grand way by tubes of chemicals packed by humans and thrown into the sky. Yay, physics and chemistry. Being a spatialist myself, fascinated by spatial phenomena, I was interested to read up about the packing of the tubes. Basically, the spatial orientation of the packed materials, including timing set by distances, determine the expanded spatial positions of the projectile chemical bundles. And gravity does the rest. But it has always bothered me that these materials end up on the land or in water bodies. For fireworks are often done over water, seemingly for safety reasons. Safety of people – not of water ecology! It seems like fireworks is something it would be nice for our culture to outgrow. But I know I’m towards the end of that curve, and currently that’s not what most people want.

For me, fireworks obliterating the beautiful sky is ironic to the point of ridiculous. I will stick to enjoying the glory of the sky and its quiet, subtle, ever-changing beautty. Okay, not always quiet – but thunderstorms are glorious, too.

 

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