People hurry past – to class, work, home, store, library, to catch a bus, to make a light – rushed on by the wet, brisk Spring wind.
Just ahead, construction projects have swallowed sections of upper Broadway. Bright blue barricades funnel pedestrians temporarily into the street, canopied by the scrappy awning covered with layers of colorful ads and shielded by sturdy, pockmarked concrete barricades.
Over the last several months, crews of workers have methodically built the commissioned structures; a slow-motion human swarm over the skeletons of scaffolding – piling, scraping, smoothing, welding them upwards, fleshing them in, these ordered piles of glass panel and cement. A new student center for the university. A sky-positioned walkway across the unforgiving traffic of the avenue. All for the students now walking – in pairs, in trios, contented conversations floating on the April wind – past the ordinary danger of the half-built buildings and the builders, their lives in mundane jeopardy, sheltered from view by that shade of municipal blue.
Just a few weeks ago, the bright green shoots first poked out from the crumbles of black, well-tended soil and breathed their first of above-ground air. Each day as they grew, they swayed in the breezes, dipping and swirling, at the mercy of the changeable weather. Now, they were standing tall and bright, stamens peeking out of their lemon-yellow bonnets. Through the metal bars of the gate cloistering their delicate chlorfil flesh from the chaos of the average person, they gaze out and absorb the energy of the street.