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Memory feeds imagination | Come out of the circle of time


This is a Fourth of July exercise for all of the American readers.

Get some fireworks -- or attend a display if you'd rather leave the explosions to the professionals! Those who don't like setting them off can just look at the packages in a store for the first part of this exercise.

Look at the containers for the different fireworks. Notice the bright wrappings and shiny paper. They're almost like presents. Observe the different colors on the packaging. What do the containers feel like? Can you tell what's underneath the shiny paper? What does that feel like? Do the fireworks packages have any sort of smell that you can notice? Appreciate the overall design of a firework. Even if you don't know exactly what's inside, you know that someone worked hard to invent just the right mix of ingredients to produce the colors and sounds without causing any harm (so long as they're used properly, that is). Be mindful of the fireworks packages.

Now, either set off your fireworks -- safely, please! -- or attend your display. Sit back and just watch for a moment. Enjoy the bright colors and the way the sparks fall through the air back to the ground. Fireworks are a three-dimensional show. What colors do you see? Can you see different colors in one explosion, or is each firework one color? Is there any color as they shoot up from the ground? Look up and appreciate the beauty.

If you bought any "sparklers" try to write or draw in the air with one. How does that work? Think about it as you have fun.

Do you see any smoke or flame during the display? What color is the smoke? Does it stay in one spot or spread out? Where is the smoke: close to the ground or high in the air? Watch the smoke for a few minutes and be mindful of it.

Now, listen to the explosions. You may cover your ears if you don't really like loud noises! Do you hear the bang just as you see the colors, or is there a delay? Can you hear the sound of the fireworks launching into the air? What does it sound like? Do all the explosions sound the same, or does each type of firework have an individual bang? Are some of them louder than others? Do the louder explosions have larger displays, or are they just louder? What does it sound like when just one explodes? When a lot of them go off together? If you bought firecrackers, you can set those off to see what they sound like, too. Be aware of the noise and appreciate its loudness.

What do you smell as the fireworks explode? Can you tell where the explosions are just by smelling? Inhale the tangy scent and appreciate the fireworks.

As you finish this exercise, be sure to dispose of your fireworks safely and not leave them littering the ground. Being mindful of the environment is also important.

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