It's Independence Day and of course every traditional celebration includes fireworks. In Maine the use of fireworks by private citizens is legal for the first time ever and I know lots of folks who have purchased massive stockpiles of pyrotechnics to put on their own display - I hope they are all careful and observe proper safety precautions, but knowing some of them as I do and understanding that beer will be involved I'm a little concerned for the safety of all involved. We'll have to see how it all works out. I should point out that there have already been injuries and fires attributed to fireworks even before the holiday celebrations began, so I am not optimistic about an accident free holiday.
I'm sure the private displays will be fun but even the most elaborate of them will pale in comparison to the public displays planned for southern Maine. The city of Portland has been promoting it's activities as "Maine's Biggest July 4th Celebration" featuring "The BIGGEST Fireworks Show In Maine..." I've attended the Portland display in the past and I have to say they are always impressive, so if this year's is bigger and better than ever it should be something to behold indeed.
My hometown of Freeport also traditionally hosts a fireworks display on July 4, and while not a big and elaborate as Portland's it's still a respectable effort and it's always fun to see all the local folks who have gathered downtown to attend the free concert that LL Bean traditionally hosts and watch the fireworks. But there will be no fireworks in Freeport tonight.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of LL Bean and they are celebrating with a Hometown Celebration that lasts from July 4 until July 7. The celebration includes a road race, a parade, free concerts, outdoor activities, Maine authors, a farmers' market and much more, and culminates on Saturday night with what has been billed as the largest fireworks display ever presented in Maine. To quote their ad, "A celebration this special only happens once every 100 years". [Editorial comment: I think Independence Day is a much bigger deal than LL Bean's 100th anniversary and should be celebrated for it's own sake on July 4th. Incorporating it into a crass commercial self-promotion is indicative of what's wrong with our nation today - corporations count for more than people, or even the nation itself! But, hey, they're paying for it so let them have their way.]
But here's my real point in writing this: as spectacular as either of both of these displays may be, they can't even begin to compare with the fireworks display that Mother Nature can put on when severe thunderstorms are in the area, as they are right now. The Portland display is scheduled to start in an hour but I think I can safely say they ain't going to happen - not tonight, anyway. The lightening flashes and accompanying thunder are creating a display that's more impressive than any pyrotechnics company can produce, so I am content to just sit inside and watch nature's fury from the comfort and relative safety of my home.
Maybe the weather will be more cooperative on Saturday when LL Bean is scheduled to touch off it's "Spectacular Fireworks Display" or maybe it won't. But there is one thing of which I am certain: when it comes to fireworks displays, Mother Nature's will be better than man's best effort every time. Not even LL Bean can fool with Mother Nature.
Happy Fourth of July!