DSC_0639For one week every summer, thousands of people migrate down to the water’s edge, flooding the beaches for the annual “Celebration of Light”, a yearly fireworks competition involving three countries competing for the privilege of putting on the finest light show. Each country designs their own display and fires them off to a carefully chosen piece of music to accompany the beauty of their spectacular pyrotechnics. We stand, staring up at the hazing sky, captivated by the magnificent blaze set against the inky night. I watch them burst, exploding into a myriad of color – red, orange, green, pink, purple white and blue. With each fiery explosion, I feel a twinge in my joints, associating their hot eruptions with the burning flares of arthritis. The arthritis flare is a hot rolling wave swelling beneath the surface, setting off flash fires and lighting my translucent skin with a crimson hue. It feels like my joints are hoarding tiny volcanoes beneath the surface, just waiting for that spark to ignite and set them off like fireworks in the night. Bang! Pop! Pow! It seems like when one joint blazes, it triggers all of them. One by one they detonate their intense spark until they are singing in chorus and we can only wait until they’ve burned through their ammunition leaving behind the smouldering remains of their feverish performance. The crackling resonance sends fierce vibrations through my body, masked only by the raucous applause and “oohs” and “aahs” of a delighted audience.

As I stare up at the sky bursting with vibrant sparks, the phrase “I’m on fire” comes to mind. This expression usually refers to a magnificent burst of energy and efficiency – similar to the intense force of an exploding firework. That phrase has a different meaning for folks with arthritis. You can bet when we say we are on fire, we are not referring to the efficiency of our efforts. No, we are talking about the inflammation of our joints and the roiling magma our blood becomes as it explodes beneath the surface. Our fireworks differ significantly from the beautiful artistry filling the sky.DSC_0608

When the last explosion shatters the evening, we are gradually exposed to the cool refreshing night lingering beneath the smoky residue washing out the twinkling light of the stars; it’s a place where we find relief after the pinwheels of heat evaporate, wafting into the cool shade of nightfall. Fireworks are beautiful and spectacular when set against the night sky, dressing the darkness in brilliant flashes of hot color and that’s where they belong, a stunning exhibition in the heavens far away from our earthly body.

No Comments

  1. Grace on September 7, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Yes, I can relate!

    • J.G. Chayko on September 8, 2014 at 9:20 am

      Grace, I hope you don’t endure many fireworks that are not in the night sky; hoping your fires are extinguished quickly, leaving you in cool and refreshing relief. Wishing you well.

      • Grace on September 8, 2014 at 10:57 am

        Thank you; I simmer on!

  2. Carla Kienast on September 8, 2014 at 8:49 am

    They tell cancer patients to imagine their chemotherapy going in and blasting those cancer cells. Now that I’m on an infusion therapy, I imagine the biologic going in and “blasting” the inflammation — so I also have a mental image of fireworks. Thanks, as always, for a wonderful post. Wish I could have seen the real display.

    • J.G. Chayko on September 8, 2014 at 9:17 am

      Carla, here’s hoping after the biologic blasts away the inflammation, you are left with cool and fluid joints. As for the real display, it was a lovely show on a warm summer’s evening. Stay well.

  3. RA Guy on September 10, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Thank you for your beautiful writing…

    • J.G. Chayko on September 11, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Thanks RA Guy 🙂 Always enjoy reading about your own adventures. Hope you are doing well. Cheers.

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About me

J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.