Interestingly enough, there were fireworks here at midnight. I wasn't expecting any, other than the usual firecrackers and cherry bombs which I hear amid the general cacophony every year. But the guy who lives in the house behind mine apparently saved a few of his (highly illegal here, in this fire-prone region) 4th of July rockets and fountains. They boomed and flashed in the rainy night, and their sparks fell harmlessly onto the dampened pines and manzanita. Also, there were two sirens this year. Someone a few blocks from here has an old siren such as fire trucks once used in the days before those electronic sirens became standard. Every year, it whines away the old year. But this year it was joined by another of the same sort, a bit farther away. They rose and fell in what resembled a conversation for two or three minutes, then fell silent as the various horn honks, bells, clanging pots, shouts, whoops, and minor explosions faded away. It occurred to me that this is the only occasion during the year for which people predictably make this sort of collective noise, just for the noise itself. Probably, it is because this is the only holiday which, in essence, takes place in an instant. Most people may get the day off, but for all practical purposes, the holiday is over a minute or two after midnight. When you think about it, it hardly seems worth the bother.
In a while, Pasadena will be indulged in its annual hour of fame. I shall be asleep once again. If there is a televised rerun of the event this evening, I'll probably watch it for a few minutes, just for a glimpse of the mountains -- assuming they are not swathed in cloud or smog. I always like to get a look at them. They loomed over my daily life throughout my youth, and I rather miss them.