Life as an Extreme Sport

I smell of salt and sand and sea, of musky smoke and fire and burning cloth and singed hair. My feet are blistered, my throat hoarse from laughing in all the smoke. And I am utterly exhausted, delighted, happy.

Jacob took a group of us to the beach this evening; we had decent Indian food for dinner, then parked downtown and walked to the Boardwalk. We hung out with the sea lions, broke into small groups to talk, watched people get sneezed on by sea lions (not me, for I move faster than a sea lion sneeze… but oh, poor OCD Emily…), then wandered past the amusement park to another beach to watch the fireworks.

These were not city-sanctioned fireworks. No, these were people spend hundreds, if not thousands, at fireworks stands, and set them off on the beach. And we, through what kind of luck who knows, ended up smack in the middle of the display. The fireworks were bursting overhead close enough to touch, sparks and flame raining down on us, we all carried home small paper parachutes that were part of the sparkling spiral fireworks. We had to watch and sometimes run, paying attention to where they were coming down, if they were too low, what the dangerous drunk people were doing.

It was terrifying. It was exhilarating. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever experienced; the awe, the laughter, the joy in living and being alive.

Eventually the danger outweighed the benefit, and we crept carefully out of a landmine of fireworks and sparklers and flares. Our original plan, to get alcohol, derailed when we walked by a Coldstone. Instead, we sat around small tables sharing ice cream, like we shared dinner, like we shared our laughter, and marveled at how, after only a week, it seemed like we had all known each other for years.