Wednesday, August 09, 2006

City Lights

Driving home this evening through downtown Birmingham there was a thunderstorm off to the east and shards of lightning slammed at the ground like atomic icicles. Off in the distance I could see Vulcan, the metallic sentinel, standing vigil on Red Mountain. As I sat still in traffic I thought back to 1969 just after Jilda and I started dating. We used to go up to Vulcan at night. We couldn't go to ballgames, swimming, the movies, or most any other place that young people go, because her family was Church of God and those places were a sin in those days. I understand that it's not longer a sin but I'm not quite sure why. Anyhow, one place we could go was to eat and up to Vulcan.
Back then, I don't think there was an elevator.....maybe I'm having a senior moment, but I seem to recall walking up a circular stair case. I do remember that there was an open air viewing stand and you could stand out there, as the wind blew in from the west, and look down on the lights of the city. I know Birmingham has a lot of history and much of it is unflattering, but it is beautiful at night from Vulcan's vantage point. We stood on that platform for hours watch the cars snake through the streets. You could also see planes come and go taking people to who knows where. It was a magical experience that sticks out in my mind as one of my favorite memories.
Vulcan has been restored, beautified, and modernized. I don't think you can get outside anymore. You can't feel the night wind on your face anymore, but the view of those city lights is still spectacular.

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