The bus hummed along the interstate accompanied by the buzzy murmuring of a couple dozen middle school students and their chaperones.
We had traveled all night from West Virginia, “sleeping” on the way, ready for a three day Chicago exploration.
It had been daylight for several hours, but scenery along interstates tends to be somewhat monotonous.
Many still dozed or checked their phones or played video games – ignoring the world outside the bus windows.
For those of us looking, there came a moment of recognition.
There – along the horizon – was the skyline of Chicago.
We knew we had arrived at our destination.
But seeing the skyline of a city, no matter how recognizable, is not the same as seeing the city.
Only as we started to experience the layout of the streets, explore the many museums, listen to the “gangster” tour guide fill us in on Chicago history, eat hot dogs at the White Sox game or tap our toes as the dancers did the Charleston at the “speakeasy” did we really “see” Chicago.
We are often more likely to take the time to explore what’s behind the skylines in cities we are just visiting.
When’s the last time you bothered to “explore” your own turf, your own town, your own skyline.
Lulled into laziness, we “see” the familiar skylines around us without really “seeing” or knowing our own communities.
Maybe it’s time to “visit” our own hometowns.
We might be surprised by the diversity and beauty and history that are all around us each day.
And we don’t even have to sleep on the bus all night to get there.