So, growing up I loved fireworks and even as recently as a few years ago I enjoyed the act of going to the fireworks festival in town because it meant a fun, family evening with food, refreshments, moon-bounces, and of course the quintessential 4th of July entertainment of fireworks lighting up the night sky.
Now, however, I sit home with an absolutely terrified and traumatized dog and cat who cower in their respective corners under the bed shaking so hard, you’d think they were in below-freezing temps. It kind of takes all the fun out of the celebrations. Oh yes, I drug them up with the calming supplements one can find at any pet store and I’ve even tried vet prescribed medication as well, but it seems nothing really cuts through their overwhelming fear.
And that gets me thinking about all of the wild animals snug in their beds, most likely with babies to protect, that must wonder just what the hell is going on during these cacophonous revelries and how it surely must make them feel as though their world and indeed, their very lives, are in danger of being blown out of existence.
Last night they had the fireworks show in my town and the owl that lives in the tree outside my bedroom window was frantic with his “hooting,” and I can only imagine why. A sound that normally calms me each night and makes me smile into the darkness, instead made me extremely sad as it was obvious a severely distressed call on this particular evening. Perhaps he was concerned for the lady friend he calls every evening when she did not respond or maybe he was just horribly afraid, like my own little critters cowering under the bed.
Not to be outdone by the professional fireworks in town, my lovely, considerate neighbors set off their own show well into the night so that just as the animals everywhere were able to calm down and relax and perhaps understand that their lives were no longer in danger, the sporadic noise of explosions hit once again, only this time severely close to home, sending them scurrying once again.
I read an article the other day that said people should be respectful and conscientious of their fellow neighbors on the 4th of July weekend as there may be Veterans with PTSD or other issues who could be traumatized by the extraordinarily loud booming of home-grown fireworks. It’s yet one more thing I had never considered. However, I can only imagine what it must be like. And my heart goes out to those Veterans.
While there have indeed been cool advances in pyrotechnics to soften the percussive blow and allow for a quieter fireworks show, it apparently looks like companies in the U.S. aren’t going to be on board for making a meaningful change anytime soon, which is a shame. Nor will these festivals fall to the wayside because they are in fact, fun, family oriented evenings that so many enjoy (with good reason). But is it really necessary for Joe Blow next door to set up professional grade fireworks in the middle of a suburban street to show that he’s somehow “the man” or has the staying power his wife and/or girlfriend needs? Sparklers, yes, by all means. My kids loved them and most kids do. Those cool fiery things that shoot off flaming sparks of varying colors and hiss and twirl, yet stay in one spot…those are downright nifty. But to set off explosive material that makes the adjacent houses shake and the night sky right above flammable rooftops light up as if you’re at a professional show? Those we don’t need, thank you very much.
So, to all of my American friends, enjoy your 4th of July. I sincerely hope you have a fun, safe weekend with friends and family. But can we all just show a little consideration for our neighbors (both 2 legged and 4 legged) amid all the merriment? It’s really not too much to ask.