For the second time in as many years, I was in a car driving cross-country on a day illuminated by fireworks. It's a magical way to travel, the land giving forth in festivity and fire, transient blooms, explosive beauty. At mundane roadside stops, a father hoists his daughter on his shoulders, the better to see the the fire beyond near-distant trees. Crowds stare upward, marvelling, necks aching. Millions of pounds are burned in the air, as a year's wooden refuse is made good in bonfires on the ground. A dry Christmas tree revives in a moment's glory, each needle aglow with fervent, sparking heat which, for a moment, rolls back the evening's bite.
We had our own fire, with C'.s family, as well as everyone else's, a day early, Bonfire Day observed in the convenience of a Saturday. A tasty meat-and-potato pie with pickled beetroot, a rather spicy chili, sausages, a light, dark gingerbread, parkin - but I wanted nothing more than a mug of mulled cider to warm my hands around. I miss North American (non-alcoholic) cider, its dense smooth sweetness balanced with tart, the taste of fall and warmth and apples.
Fall has settled in here with tendrils of mist and yellowing trees, a breath of cold, and warming layers. Fire burns to keep us warm, to bring back light, in memory of a destruction which never happened, the country's yearly excuse for extravagant fireworks.