Stepping out of the door of the wayback machine, the photog looked with awe at the landscape of a park that was once the scene of several fond memories. This was better than fiction or how he recalled the view.
The grass was very lush, well trimmed, and the trees were spaced out enough so you had fields for play and shade to read. The rolling hills were not as big as he had recalled, but then again, as a child, any hill seems longer and taller than it really is.
This was the place, it certainly was. The aromas of the trees however were not a strong or pronounced as he recalled. There was no sign of that big huge lake in the center, but instead a small watering hole that you could easily cross with a few short rows in a canoe. In fact, at it’s deepest, an average man could probably stand without his head submerged
Why the trip back in time though? Well, the photog wanted to recall the place he had first tried to photograph fireworks. That day had left a strong impression and a visit back in memory lane would give some perspective to this amazing memory.
That night, many moons ago, the family had taken its first serious trip to watch fireworks. The park was close enough to home that most years, one could catch the entire show from the roof top or back yard. Roof top had a better view as most trees didn’t clear the tallest point of the house. Oh how things had changed. A few decades and the trees towered over the homes.
As the memory had it, the trip to the park had long lines. People were coming in from all parts of town to catch the show. Once in the park, many were allowed to park on the grass. With great fortune, the young photog was lucky enough to have found himself not far from the launch pad of the show. The pond was where they had staged the fireworks. Makes plenty of sense now, as all that water was a great fire break. Back then, it just seemed an odd step to keep kids away from all the firefighters who looked so cool in their gear while putting on a great spectacle.
The music had been amazing and well timed to the show. The orchestra looked massive and impressive then. Today, the soundstage was probably only able to hold a small sample of an orchestra. The sound system must have added not only extra voicing, but amplified the talent that was there live. Hard to tell, as the wayback machine didn’t bring the people back into their locations.
The park, today, seemed rather forgotten. The grass had grown in a bit, the trees had taken over part of the cover. Whoever was in charge wasn’t as vigilant as the photog recalled. Maybe the demographics of the day had moved on to different locations of interest and the city didn’t feel the need to upkeep such a small corner of town. But, back then, it was a vibrant hub the during the summer.
That night, when trying to take photos, the photog had to ask his father for a lot of tips to get the right shot. To start, the camera was older than the boy trying to take the photos. It was film. There was no digital preview. And neither the boy or the dad had done any extensive night time flashless photography. Needless to say, the only memories of that night was the ones taken by the mind’s eye, as the film was all black with an occasional frame that hinted at a burst of light trying to peek into the darkness. Several installments of allowances went into paying for that roll of film.
The highlights of that night was when the last set of starburst fireworks boomed and covered the night time sky with spectacular showers of colors as the orchestra crescendoed to it’s fullest vibrato. One of the mortars must have leaned too far, as it launched its payload dangerously close to the crowd.. The father sensed that it was time to leave, and the boy sadly got in the car with his whole family and kept his eyes glued to the window as they slowly maneuvered off the grass back to the exit of the park.
Later, the news would break that the city felt the close call was too close for comfort. A no parking on the grass rule was placed and a clear limit was set around the waterhole so that spectators were not at risk if a mortar laid over. Maybe the safety aspect put a damper on future shows, who knows, but here were no more park viewing of the show. In fact, as the boy grew older, there were less spectacular shows. You had to buy tickets to go to the city’s bigger show, and the boy never got to witness up close and personal another until he was a grown adult photog.
Stepping back into the wayback machine for the return trip, the photog smiled. Certain things are best kept inside memory lane. The colors are more vibrant, the smells sweeter, the sound crisper. Other things do fade with time, and going doesn’t always refresh the nostalgic feels that one recalls. Certain memories fade because it’s in our best interest to let them go. Others live on to remind us of where we’re to go.
As the trip back to the present continued smoothly, the photog made a note to himself. One day, he’ll show his children how to capture their own memories in their digital world so that they can remember better their memories. He will also show them how to select what to delete and let slide into the archives of history. Not everything has to be remembered perfectly. Some should just be written about and the imagination fills in the rest.
As the machine arrived back to current times and docked back at the computer, the photog smiled. There were many more memories to create. Many more photos to take. Many more adventures to live through. This Fourth of July weekend will have it’s sweet memories. And just like old times, there will be no drinks to cloud the memory making, that was one thing he was glad he remembered to always do.
For those going out this weekend, do have fun. But have fun responsibly. You do want to live to tell the tale of how this year was special with the ones you love and care for. And should you opt to enjoy a few, have someone else drive you. Better yet, stay and sleep over with friends.
For now, the camera will get a workout recording a few precious moments spent with family and friends in thanks for the great freedoms we have.