My younger brother and sister ran circles around the car, excited at the prospect of staying up late. Tomorrow they would sleep in late and be red-eyed, but now they were happy. Mom called them to order eventually and then gave everyone something to carry. I got a blanket shoved into my arms, and as soon as the rest of the chairs were distributed we were off, trooping towards the Fairgrounds.

There were many other people coming in through the open gates, and we mixed with them, flowing towards the open field. We found a spot and spread our blankets, putting up our chairs nearby, and then lay back, waiting. The firework would start any moment.

I savored the darkness, loving the suspense, the quiet rustlings and murmurings as more people came in and settled down. The sweetness of jasmine was floating in the cool night air as the sky began to darken, and the pond nearby reflected the beauty of a cool, white moon far, far above us. The astronauts had gone up today, I remembered, and hoped they were all right

There was a high-pitched whine as the first golden sparks traced their way across the sky, then an explosion, and bright shoots of red, blue, and white burned their way across the sky. I clutched my knees and craned my head back to watch it.

Brilliant bursts of flame illuminated the now almost black sky- purple, green, blue, gold, silver, red, and so many other colors. My heart leaped as a cascade of golden butterflies flooded the sky with light, fluttering down till I could see each one separately. I reached out my hand, hoping that this year I'd be able to catch one. I could see them reflected in the lake as one by one they vanished.

There was light bursting above me, each firework reflecting itself in the still pond, showing its brilliance twice, against the velvety sky and the silken water.

The crackled of fireworks and the smell of smoke filled the air as the fireworks flew. There was a red one and a blue one, exploding within feet of each other. Some of the children were carrying sparklers, and I watched them, writing their names in the air.

That looked like an Amy, and there was a Robert. At least, I think that's what it was. Murmurs of delight rustled through the air, quietly whispering of beauty and darkness. We would do our own sparklers at home later. For now there was beauty in the sky above us to watch. For over half an hour we were showered with silver and gold from above, watching the beauty of the skies.

Finally the last burning embers traced their path across the velvet deep sky, burning gold in contrast to the white stars glowing above them. As I watched them fade, a streak of white flashed across the sky, and I sighed in bliss. A falling star was the perfect end to the show.

Reluctantly, I got up, rolling my neck around to loosen it up. We moved about slowly, picking all of our stuff up, and then walked out of the gates in silence. In the car, we perked up. There was still some of my big brother's homemade fireworks to look forward to- and sparklers, of course. Another July 4th celebration was almost over.