The bright red tail lights pierce the darkness of pre-dawn. Car after car is backed up at the stoplight of the corner by my house in such a quantity that the sheer number of lights provides ample radiance to identify the make and model of each one. I must be running late, the morning rush has already started.
High above them, red turns to green and the brilliant scene fades in an instant. Brake lights disappear and the cars roll forward through the intersection. Their headlights do more to obscure than illuminate and my vision is lost in the forward march. There are so many of them. Where are they going? What are their stories? Why are they out of their houses and braving the cold so early in the morning? What jobs are they rushing off to?
The tail lights disappear into the gloom of the distance, the number of cars subsides to a trickle, and the stoplight turns yellow and then red. The brake lights return, the cars pile up again, and the world below becomes visible again. I find it fitting that when they are forced to stop the world comes into focus. We all need to pause and look around from time to time.
I’m running late, though, so I turn away from my window and start my own day. A few minutes later I find myself sitting at that same stoplight waiting my turn to be allowed through the intersection so I too can rush off to work.