Friday, July 6, 2012

Fourth of July in Two Years

I love the Fourth of July. At first I was disappointed that the city of Torrance cancelled the Wilson Park Festivities, now for the second year in the row.

Still, the sudden shut down of fiery festivities motivated me to look elsewhere for the fun and frolic of firecrackers flaming up the sky.

 In 2011, I ended up walking around East El Segundo, Del Aire, and Wiseburn, including West Hawthorne.

Normally, I would have been at the park watching fireworks and mixing it up with patrons eating and playing games. Last year, at night time, I was walking down Aviation Boulevard.

All of a sudden, a loud whistle-pop-bang, followed by exploding blossoms of fireworks, filled the air. Then another explosion, red white and blue, filled the night sky over Northrup-Grumman.

Aviation Boulevard can be an empty trip for some people. Long railroad tracks, with the Green Line hovering over the top: not very exciting. At Imperial Highway, the 105 Freeway connects with the Green Line, and travelers are either getting off for LAX or they are traveling east to who knows where.

I was heading south that evening. I was going down Ocean Boulevard. I wanted to see more of the fireworks taking off in the streets and in front yards.

I started walking past some lovely homes. The sky was dark, black and obsidian-shining. The only things glittering in the street were the twirling firecrackers, the small fireworks that snap so loud, and I got to enjoy all of it.

Walking past quaint family gatherings, I enjoyed a wall of fire, intermittently bursting forth around me. Green flares followed by yellow and blue sparkling lights welled up all around me as I strolled down the sidewalk. I motioned to some of the neighbors who were offering me an up-close and free fireworks show. I watched, I listened, I was unafraid.

I could look over my shoulder, behind me firecrackers took to the sky. Like molten fire shooting into the darkness, I stood back and took in the fountains of flames erupting all over Wiseburn.

Whether this fireworks show was legal or not, I didn’t know, and I did not care. I felt safe, no matter what was happening, no matter who was setting the fireworks.

I cannot think of a better fireworks show then the make-shift, unplanned, spontaneous fireworks displays that grabbed the night sky over the incorporated areas of Hawthorne.

This past week, I visited the Wiseburn region again, but I showed up a little earlier. The sky was a glowing, cloudy grey this time, but the overcast weather did not stop a scattering number of residents from shooting off their glittering firepower. I liked viewing scattered fireworks exploding around the nearby palm trees. The splayed fronds of the tall trees added to the natural splendor of the fireworks. Walking around earlier in the evening, I could watch families gathered around their Fourth of July celebration feasts. I saw parents playing with their children, young and old celebrating a quite national holiday.

Because I showed up a little earlier, I did not have a chance to see a real fireworks show until I started driving back home along Sepulveda Boulevard. From Manhattan Beach to Redondo Beach, I witnessed an impressive display leap up in starts and spurts over the horizon of asphalt meeting the air at the top of the hill Sepulveda streets. I had not missed anything!

I was so glad to see that cities in the South Bay had pulled their resources to put together a dazzling display, one which I could enjoy while driving home.

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