AAAS: A pyrotechnic display

I was in my hotel room at 6:30 this evening, going over my notes from an interview a half hour earlier, when I heard a racket outside. I went to the window and stood transfixed. A steady stream of fireworks was shooting up from the banks of the Chicago River, just beneath my window.

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY While I was to trying to get a little work done, this distraction caught my eye: lights dancing in front of the Wrigley Bldg. J. Raloff

MORE FIREWORKS Look at all of the colors shooting up from along the Chicago River, right over Michigan Ave. J. Raloff

THE HEART-LAND For almost 15 minutes, the light show continued. J. Raloff

Loving this part of scenic downtown, I had asked for a river view when I checked in. And I got a gorgeous vista — initially of the riveting ice-clogged river below. Straight ahead, the Tribune Tower. On the left, the famed Wrigley Building. Between the two architectural landmarks, a steady stream of lights from traffic crossing the river on the Michigan Ave. bridge.

As blue, green, and curly white fireworks flashed in front of me, I reached for my camera and caught shots of a mist of glowing golden snowflakes. And more of those blinding white splashed of light, each followed a half-second later by explosive canon sounds.

So what was going on? My first thought: Maybe they’re celebrating the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting, headquartered in this hotel.

Then I caught a glimpse of the bouquet of fringed tulips, snapdragons, lilies, and other spring flowers on the table sitting next to the window. Oh yeah . . . today’s my anniversary. So they must be celebrating St. Valentine out there. At just about that point, the pyrotechnics turned red, shot especially high into the sky, and formed the outline of a heart.

Yep. It was for Valentine’s Day. And I, for one, loved every minute of the glorious show.

Janet Raloff

Janet Raloff is the Editor, Digital of Science News Explores, a daily online magazine for middle school students. She started at Science News in 1977 as the environment and policy writer, specializing in toxicology. To her never-ending surprise, her daughter became a toxicologist.

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