S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

Bonfire Night

The crackle of fire flames licking up a pile of wood, glowing in the leaflets of piney branches, gusting smoke on a cool, breezy autumnal evening reminds me of hot apple cider, hot chocolate, and roasting s'mores - perfect fall treats. Hot chocolate is more ubiquitous, but the other two treats are very American and Canadian - not British at all, and what is Guy Fawke's Night but a celebration of the unity of the United Kingdom in the face of potential destruction?* We ate fire-baked potatoes, hot pot, sausages, parkin, and gingerbread while flowers of fire rained down with the mist from all directions.

C.'s extended family hordes wood all year 'round in preparation of bonfire night. Broken furniture, torn town fences, Christmas trees - all are saved up in preparation for a night of organized destruction, hours of burning into the depths of the night. They set off their own fireworks, but, however much fun and sparkle there is in the yard, others in the neighborhood have invested in more industrial-grade fireworks: larger, higher, brighter cascades of brilliance in a flurry of explosions for hours on end.

For all the beauty and warmth and company, there was so much there that reminded me of other things, other times and places, beyond the frustration of trying to explain what cider is - here, cider is purely an alcoholic drink, rarely tasting of apples, let alone the intense essence of apples the way cider does. It reminded me of the familial fireworks set off by my extended family on the 4th of July - I've never attended, but heard so much about them. It reminded me of how I clung to our old Christmas trees, still green and soft, once twelfth night was over; at least once, I so couldn't bear to be parted with it that I hid it behind a large pine tree in our yard, so it wouldn't be taken off with the garbage for chipping. It reminded me of childhood hay wagon trips.

The fireworks grew infrequent, and the flames died down into lurid coals, burning into the night.

* Or, if you're feeling snarky, you could argue that only the Brits would have a day commemorating a failure.

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