In countless nooks and crannies around Sydney, locals come out onto the streets for a glimpse of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks. To see the Sydney Harbour Bridge while just wandering around the corner in bare feet brings a kind of suburbly pride that mixes with warm humid midnight air, mobile phone photography and a temporary congregation of neighbours. Some carrying glasses of champagne, many with their kids and we with our step-ladder and a milk crate to see over the crowd – a trick learned from the Parisians at a Bastille Day parade we once stumbled upon.We are joined this Sydney night by our little grand daughter whose passion for life never ceases to amaze but who nevertheless nearly falls asleep as Sydney’s one great eye sparkles, eyebrow raised, blinks several times, then calls it a night.
At six minutes and 14 seconds past midnight on January 1, 2013 I took this photo.
I didn’t know this at the time, but my phone did, on which I captured the image.
At the same moment a person in front raised their hand also to take a photo so that it appears they are balancing an explosion on their fist.
Here we all are, leaning forward toward the new year, counting down the solidity of year with the stuff of split-seconds.
We have so much information at our fingertips without trying, down to the unconscious moment of tapping for a photo… and yet faced with a new year we know nothing at all, not even today, not even tomorrow.
If the psalmist David was among the crowd on this balmy Sydney night, passing through the crowd with reflective gaze, he may have strolled back up the hill in his shorts, thongs and a Tigers t-shirt, typing as he walked:
“The life of mortals is like fireworks,
they flourish like a sparkle in the night.” *
And at the same time, sensing Someone eternal, walking alongside.
* Psalm 103:15-17 – The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
Bastille Day seemed to us Australians something like a mix between Anzac Day and Australia Day with fewer barbecues and more tanks and fighter planes.
There were lots of crowds moving quietly to watch parades, flyovers and fireworks and just as many watching the passing crowds from the forward-facing chairs of cafes.
As we arrived at the fireworks, a short walk from where we are staying, it was somewhat like Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks only the iron of the bridge had morphed into a giant tower.
So conditioned am I by the Sydney event, when the fireworks were under way I kissed my wife and said Happy New Year! Or perhaps that was just an excuse… Enjoy our small photographic selection