I never get tired of seeing the Miami skyline. Or maybe it’s because I don’t see it that often that every time I have to drive towards Downtown and enter the highway, either from US1 or from 836), I suck my breath in and hold it for a few seconds. Awe washes over me and I feel poetic. You’d never think concrete buildings, glass, and towering structures could do that, but they do. As much as I feel I belong in the country (because, really, I’m a country, mountain girl at heart), the city sights really do it for me.
Today was one of those days. After rushing out of a doctor’s appointment, and needing to head up north for a meeting, I decided to take a different route, one that took me by the city’s center. As soon as my car entered the lanes of I95, I felt the change. The towers of white, gray and green rose from the side of the bridges and I inhaled sharply. It’s beautiful. On either side of me, the buildings grew. Blues and yellows came in focus, adding to the palate. The glass window panels of the buildings reflected the sun; we had no rain today, so the clouds couldn’t take away from the beauty.
The most striking part about this scenery is the contrast of wealth and poverty. I guess it’s like this in many centers, but on that drive on I95, the differences are sharp. The roads need work, the cement sides are peeling, with graffiti in some corners. New buildings are erected everywhere, next to dilapidated towers, some barely standing. Camillus House stands next to the highway, reminding travelers of the reality of the homeless that, in this plummeting economy, have grown in number.
The pictures of the skyline are abundant. It’s fed into advertisements for tourism precisely because of its beauty. It’s undeniably impressive. But just looking at the buildings, really looking, gives us a glimpse beyond the facade.