Thursday, December 12, 2013

Up REALLY Close with Things That Spit Flames

Sparks and flames shoot onto spectators below.
Sparks were flying, flames shooting about. The crowd of hundreds laughed and watched as pieces of fireworks fell back to earth.   A few brushed burning embers from their hair.  We sucked in smoke filled with sulfur and God knows what else - maybe blasting powder or TNT.

Pinwheels were mounted onto a 40 or 50 foot rickety looking wooden tower, supported by a few ropes anchored to walls and the church.  No one seemed concerned that the flames from the pinwheels might sever the support, sending the tower falling into the crowd.

At one point, a technical difficulty is detected so a man is sent to climb the tower with an enormous knife, unsheathed. Never-mind he could stab himself or drop the blade onto someone below.

Families were seated on the church steps, maybe 15 feet away from the fireworks display. Well, what can go wrong - we're on the CHURCH steps, after all.  Shouldn't that insure complete protection?

A pinwheel was lit and a small black dog rushed from the audience towards the burning, spinning, flashing and screaming ring.  To him this was a game - jump in the air and try to capture the flames and sparks as they shoot about. Though many wanted to, no one rushed to save him for fear of losing their own hair.  At least THAT was too close. (In the interest of full disclosure, he was captured before the next display was set ablaze.)

Various groups were in charge of these spectacles.  One group, perhaps, should have kept with their chosen field, which was not the construction of towering fiery displays. A few too many pieces of it flew, burning, towards the crowd.  We moved and watched from the safety of the street and behind a stone wall.

Our American friends were in awe of these demonstrations.  Rarely was an area marked off to maintain a safe boundary, and that safety field could be measured in a few feet. Those making a living as employees of OSHA would be looking for other work here in Mexico.

I find this 'living on the edge' to be freeing.  Here, if you are burned by a falling fireworks ember you don't call a lawyer and look for someone to sue, you say "gee, maybe I got too close!"  

Mexico is reminding me of the days of my youth, when people took responsibility for their actions and their outcome.  As the flames and sparks flew, I looked at the height of the tower, and while I didn't hide a block away, I stood at the back of the crowd.  The thrill seekers and those with a belief that the power of the church would protect them were welcome to feel more of the heat.

I'm glad they have the right to do so.