The Fourth (and the Third) of July have gone by. The official fireworks have been fired off. The unofficial (but totally legal because no one would break the law on the nation’s birthday would they) fireworks continue to echo. The parades are over. The height of summer has begun.
Up and down the island there’s a wide variety of celebrations. Some, of course, are much noisier than others. Officially, the biggest displays are the professional shows where there’s the most people. No surprise. But the biggest displays are in Seattle, which is why so many smaller professional displays are held on the Third of July, giving people an opportunity to enjoy both. Then there are the unofficial displays, the big booms and chaotic arsenals launched along shorelines and in neighborhoods. They’re the surprise because most legal fireworks can’t rise high or get very loud. Some communities rumble day and night throughout the week with sporadic bursts as inventories are tested, then leftovers used up.
In the meantime, there are echoes that have less to do with earplugs.
Pets and livestock slowly unwind their understandable anxieties. Strays find their ways home, or get help from their guardians. Wildlife, ironically including bald eagles, have to recover the quickest because no one else is going to feed their fledglings. Maintenance workers and volunteers will sweep up tons of trash, shrapnel that burst in air, and occasionally too close to home and hand. Homeowners might find scraps on rooftops and in gardens.
It’s a wink-wink/nudge-nudge mystery of how tonnage of fireworks arrive on the island. People find ways despite official decrees. Somehow much of it gets past the bomb-sniffing dogs sometimes deployed at the ferry terminals. Does it all come across the bridge? Probably not.
— Washington State Ferries (@wsferries) July 2, 2019
Independence Day celebrates the nation’s birth, as well as its freedoms. No other time of the year is probably better at loudly demonstrating the diversity of expression on the island. There are many minds here.
Especially as droughts become more common and population density rises, the threats are increasing and inspiring legislation limiting the types and times for fireworks. Other places celebrate with noise-less fireworks (the booms are frequently unnecessary and added), and new technology is encouraging some to use laser or drone shows. (Or how about a laser drone show?)
Until then, celebrate safely for you and your neighbors. It’s probably a good idea to keep that lawn (and maybe roof) watered, the pets indoors and possibly sedated, and enjoy the official shows performed by professionals.
As for the bald eagles, well…