DC and I attended an impressive fireworks display on Saturday then had dinner with friends. The display is paid for each year from the previous year's donations. I recalled contributing last year as I dropped my money in to the collection bucket. This for me generates a great sense of community; here we are, this crowd of people collectively contributing and collectively enjoying the fruits. Great stuff. As the winter starts to set in bonfire night is as a much a festival of light in the short dark days as it is a reminder of gunpowder, treason and plot and DC noted that Diwali would start on Sunday. I enjoyed the fireworks yet noticed too some sadness; a similar feeling to the one generated by new year's eve. It's the empty celebration. This is not the pregnant emptiness of our true nature but the hollow emptiness of jaded form. Yes it's fun to see the display and be in a crowd of cheerful people yet somehow the very scale of the display and impersonal nature of the crowd left me feeling remote. The streamers, starbursts and showers of lights formed by the fireworks seemed to distance me from the excitement they are supposed to create. It's a trait in me to slip easily in to this sort of melancholy and I observed the slip and shifted my attention but not before I recalled that feeling in childhood. I turned to DC so as to feel our closeness and not focus on the fact of aloneness; the eternal paradox of interconnection and separation. More rockets flew upwards some with whistles. Great explosions of stars formed a carapace of smoke which gave greater dramatic effect to subsequent multi coloured explosions by reflecting their light; a slowly shifting and fading backdrop glowing with the shifting play of light and dark. The huge bonfire a conflagration of leaping flames lay off to the side sending sparks off into the night sky. 'Heretics be warned' said DC. 'Mm' I said. The noise of the blasts grew and could be felt as a shock wave in the torso. I looked at the smoke and thought of those who have suffered in war. Beyond the smoke and any cloud the firmament remained.
The display over the crowd dispersed filling the streets. A queue had formed at the chip shop and others made their way through the supermarket. DC and I hurried back to our friend's house to get dinner going and meet up with others who would have been in the crowd watching the display. There was a sense of people moving towards their food.
It's taken me a couple of days to get round to writing this post and the ideas I had on Saturday for it have faded. Today I visited someone in hospital. His company has done some work for me and we have got on well in the short time we've spent together. I knew what this visit could be about before I arrived at his bed side to hear him tell me that he had been given twelve months to live. He only received the news a few days ago and it is still 'sinking in'. Our lives are a strange mixture and very fragile. Yet as the fireworks end and the embers of the fire cool beyond the clouds of our delusion the firmament remains; not as a solid carapace above us but as the unborn.
The merit of this post is for Bill and those who love him.