with my parents still on their camping trip, it was up to me once again to deliver the chinese newspaper to my grand uncle. he wasn't home but i found him in the parking lot throwing stuff away into the industrial trash bin. i told him i left the newspaper on his doorstep then left. i decided to take the long way home, which involved cutting through harvard square and going down memorial drive all the way to the longfellow bridge. it wasn't even noon yet and some people were already camped out along the edge of the charles river, relaxing with friends and family, enjoying the weather, reading a book, playing cards. i came home and made myself some ramen for lunch, watching more american history documentaries on television.
around 4pm i left for boston, to met up with renata and peter, and her friends jane and michael, for a picnic then to watch the fireworks. earlier i'd received a call from jane telling me there's been a change in venue, that she and michael had grabbed a spot along the charles river, with directions on how to find them. i got off at charles/mgh and walked down storrow drive (closed to car traffic) to the esplanade. the place was crowded with people, and even though i arrived at where they said they'd be (near the exeter bridge), it still took a few phone calls to finally find each other. i was the first to arrive, besides jane and michael, and we waited for renata and peter to show up. when everyone was finally here, we ate our sandwiches. although our location was great for picnicking, it wasn't so great for phototaking. even though from where we were it was closer to the fireworks, the better view is from the other side of the charles river, with the boston skyline as a backdrop for the eventual pyrotechnics later that evening. so around 7pm i left the group and made my way across the mass ave bridge towards MIT.
normally it wouldn't take very long to walk, but with the sea of people crushing me at every turn and with the setting sun blinding me, it seemed like an ordeal. when i finally made it to the bridge, i was surprised to find it relatively empty. i bumped into julie and we found a spot along the bridge where we would wait for 3 more hours before the fireworks started. we watched canoes and kayaks pass below us underneath the bridge. a blimp circled the air. i told julie about my naturing this past weekend, she told me about her mountain climbing experience. renata called me with an invitation to return close to our original spot (by then it was just her and peter), but i wasn't going back. she also warned me not to write anything about sheeps (ha! you don't scare me!). large speakers were situated nearby to broadcast the celebration, but due to our location, everything was echoed back which made it hard to hear anything.
at 10:30pm the fireworks started. it'd been a while since julie had seen a major fireworks display, so she saw it as a chance to see the latest innovations in pyrotechnology. i was quietly fumbling with my camera, more of a chance to practice photography than to actually drink in the light show. most of what i saw i'd seen in other years (compare, contrast, with last year 2004 and 2002). the ones that formed 3D cubes were new, and i never noticed it before, but at the start of the 25-minute show they use fireworks to build out something that looks like an american flag. i just wish you could get a guidebook explaining the language of fireworks. they're beautiful, yes, but i like to know what i'm seeing. is that supposed to spell out something? are those supposed to be flowers? or willow trees? or stars? maybe there's just no right or wrong answers, looking at fireworks is like looking at clouds, you see what you want to see.
10:55pm the fireworks display was over, and there was a sudden shift in the crowd as people started to make their way out, via land or water. the shuffling mob reminded me of zombies. the crowd was too large to even consider taking the T back home, so julie and i decided to walk it, along with the tens of thousands of other people. because of our age (that's my theory at least), we walked slow, as the more energetic younger crowd passed by us in their noisy flip flops. the trip back felt like a war zone, as neighborhood kids expressed their patriotic zeal by setting off illegal fireworks into the sky. the sounds of wooshing and popping could be heard throughout cambridge, with the occasional flare hitting a window, a car, or a house. a man carrying a boombox had it tuned to the red sox game; we groaned as keith "the opener" foulke lost another one for the hometown team. once we got to the outskirt of harvard square, julie went down mass ave while i detoured along oxford street.
when i arrived at my street, it was once again crowded with parked cars, people returning from their long weekend. 4th of july is now officially over.