In a few short weeks, my morning commute will become about ten minutes longer thanks to the return of students at the two school zones I pass through. The first summer in the new decade has been a hectic and challenging one professionally, but remarkably slow in terms of what all has changed since the spring. The weekends seem to get shorter even with the longer days, with Monday arriving before we really have had time to decompress from Friday afternoon. I suppose that is the story of one's mid-to-late twenties.
While the morning commute features school zones, the evening trip home has its own notable traits. I drive down to 2nd Avenue and loop around under the Jefferson Street Bridge rather than waiting for a small eternity on the light at the corner of 4th Ave. Underneath the bridge, there is usually a large gathering of people. For the first few months on this daily commute (after I learned to avoid the stoplight), I was not sure exactly what was going on there. After seeing a few church vans and a truck from the Salvation Army, I have reached the conclusion that dinner is being served to the homeless. If it were not on my normal route, I would just drive on by on the bridge above.
Today was a bit of a different scene. There were still the same hundred or so people and church vans, but this time there was a makeshift stage set up with a band. I only saw it for a split second as I rushed home from a long day at work, but I was still thinking about it as I pulled into my parking space at home. We fall into our daily ruts, to where large groups of people underneath a bridge do not even enter our consciousness because we see them so often -- until there is something different. I am sure the band was there to lift spirits while other volunteers fed those in attendance. Perhaps there is even a chance that the band is there every so often, and I have simply never noticed it before.
Ruts are hard things to break of out. The mental energy required to think about things as simple as what to eat for dinner after work can seem burdensome at times. I am fortunate to be able to make that decision on my own rather than depending on the generosity of others. But more importantly, I am glad that there are people out there who are not afraid to try new approaches -- even if the current one is already meeting the visible needs. I can only speculate what it means to have the likely only hot meal of the day augmented by a bit of uplifting musical entertainment. I would wager that it at least made the day a bit brighter.