I frequently write about the beauty of downtown, the skyscrapers lined with incredible architectural features. Unfortunately, at ground level, some of the sights are not so exhilirating.
The pre-dawn hours in downtown St. Louis are when you are most likely to smell them. The odor of urine permeates the air outside the parking garages where many go to relieve themselves. Occasionally, this odor is masked by bleach that some poor worker was tasked with applying.
In the pre-dawn hours, you are most likely to see them -- in their entirety. They are sprawled on street corners, laying beneath overhangs, tucked into doorways, lining several feet of sidewalk. They are the homeless. They are innumerable.
Most of them have luggage now, not something I remember seeing in my youth. I frequently see them as they pack up for the day, stuffing blankets or sleeping bags into plastic bags, lashing the contents to a rolling suitcase or duffel. For the early commuters like me, this is regular morning sight.
But, every once in a while, something takes me aback. That happened this morning, when, from across the street, I spied this scene.
I couldn't help myself; I pulled out the camera. It had to be captured and I had to share it.
Of course, not 50 yards away from this scene, people were in a queue to buy $5 coffees. As I snapped a few photos, I watched a handful of people walk by without really taking in this scene. To me, it's a sad commentary on what this country has become ... and what it will continue to devolve to if we allow it.
If more people took the "There but for the grace of God" approach to the economy, I can't help but think how much greater a place we'd all call home. I've been feeling a little sorry for myself this week.
Now, I'm just ashamed.