Fury on the Fourth

July 5, 2008

In Portland, Fourth of July fireworks typically begin a day or two early and linger for a few days. I’m talking about unofficial fireworks, the kind I nearly maimed myself with as a kid.

This evening on my front steps, I heard a firecracker explode up the street. At the sound, an Alfred Hitchcock flock of crows rose from the trees. The sky darkened as they passed overhead. Later my wife said I’d been shat upon.

Maybe the fury of the Fourth loosens the bowels of birds. It’s hell on dogs. Our friends down the street have two miniature greyhounds, loving but nervous dogs. During a fusillade last night, little Zoe crashed through a window and disappeared into the night. The Humane Society phoned today with good news.

Despite these incidents, one trivial and the other nearly tragic, neighborhood fireworks were dramatically diminished this year. At times it was eerily quiet. As if people decided there’s not much to celebrate.