July 4th in San Francisco

It starts every year on July 4th morning –  indecision about where to watch the fireworks. The default for me is Twin Peaks or Tank Hill, where we can see the sky blooming from a distance and the city below. But today, we decided to get closer in, so we drove down, in the nick of time, to the Marina. It was crowded, of course, but we maneuvered into a parking spot that was out of the way if not entirely legal.

Darkness falling

People were double and triple-parked; it didn’t matter, we were all there for the same thing. We were all waiting for darkness to fall over the Bay. The Coit Tower was lit in red, white and blue.  Across the Bay, Sausalito’s display started.

waiting for the fireworks

Then there was the first boom! and a fire-flower appeared. Everyone started to move eastward to get closer. I joined them; a street-lamp where I stood was messing up my pictures. I passed a beacon flashing white, and then found a good vantage point.

fireworks start

All around me, people were taking photographs, many with iPads or smartphones, and a few with cameras mounted on tripods.

pix 39 fireworks 023

blue flower

fireworks 1

fireflowers in the sky

I like this picture. It’s such a classic fireworks display shot, but it captures some of the wonder of these night-blooming sky-flowers.  And here it is closer up.

fire mums

The smiley-faces came out beautifully, with no wind to blow them around.


This one reminded me of a bit from old poem: “lily cups… those flowers made of light…” These literally were.

Lilies made of light

star spattered

The grand finale was an extended burst of red white and blue. Everyone cheered.

red white and blue

Hope you all had a happy 4th!

Fireworks and the 4th of July

I was out of town until yesterday, and flew back on the 4th of July. The first thing I noticed was that a *lot* of people on the planes and in the airports wore celebratory clothes, almost as though they were trying to make up for having to fly on the holiday. Amid the men and women wearing T-shirts with flags and eagles, there was a cute  five-year-old in a blue-starred bodice and a red-and-white striped skirt.

Usually we watch the fireworks from Tank Hill or Twin Peaks, but last night we drove down to the Marina and watched, double-parked, from near the Safeway. It was splendid, and I’d forgotten how different it feels watching from up close. (One year we did the Hornblower cruise, and it was amazing… we’ll probably do that again some time.)

And did you hear what happened in San Diego? The entire 17-minute 4th of July fireworks display went off in about 30 seconds… they’re still trying to figure out the technical glitch, but the result was spectacular!

Here’s the link to a Youtube video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4ifn8LJl5n0

(Or just click on the picture above.)

Though it was over soon after it started, it was indeed Awesome! (as some commentators are heard to say over the squawking car alarms…)