Sunday, June 8, 2014

Barrio Van Nuys

Summer has arrived, although the official solstice isn’t for a few weeks yet.  With the warmer weather, people are out and about, especially on a beautiful, balmy Friday night in the city.  I stood outside a Catholic church in Van Nuys and listened to the singing and prayers of an evening service while the life of the streets swirled around me.  Even on into the night, people milled around, talking, laughing, enjoying the end of a work week.  In the parish hall, eighth grade students celebrated their upcoming graduation with a dinner and a dance.  There were sirens on Van Nuys Boulevard a few blocks away, and a number of street denizens parked their shopping carts and lit a candle at the statue of the Virgin Mary in a grotto just off the street.  The avenues around Van Nuys High School were empty except for some skateboarders catapulting themselves off the steps in front of the school.  There was a nice breeze blowing, and the air was soft and summery, a perfect June evening in southern California.  In the midst of ramshackle houses and apartments, walking the streets of the barrio, the city for a moment was absolutely beautiful in its decay, a rare perfect moment where the angels of the city seemed to whisper and float down the streets, and the pulse of life presented itself in the voices of the people, their laughter and their stories.  I stood with my camera and simply listened to this life symphony.  Here comes summer.

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