After donning safety glasses, I lit the fuse and then sheltered behind a tree 30 feet away. The fuse set off the black powder, which burned rapidly, ignited the coffee creamer, and propelled it into the air in a giant fireball. As the burning creamer ascended, it left a vacuum in its wake that more air rushed to fill. The result was a column of burning gas that was hotter at its center. Because the hot core rose faster than the cool perimeter, the edges appeared to droop, creating the traditional mushroom shape. The roiling cloud, with its bright orange heart, made a beautiful sight on an otherwise peaceful day.