Seasonal Impressions

I have a blog coming up for all of you very soon, but I was searching through old gmail attachments, and I found some things worth sharing.

My mood, generally, is very dependent on weather. Sometimes, all I need to restore me is a cool breeze across closed lids. These are two instances, on that took place in a Chicago fall, and one that took place in a Chicago spring, as I was on the eve of heading back to my home state, Michigan.



The Belmont el stop.
The best place to see the sky in Chicago is at the Belmont el stop. A couple of days ago, the transient weather of fall meant that from the open air station, I could see several days of weather in one sky.

To the west, the sky was clear, an enameled cerulean blue.To the northeast, wedding white mares tails, little ice crystal clouds moved in sync to the southwest like lacy old ladies arm in arm, clipping down the street in their sturdy black shoes. To the southeast, however, trouble broiled. Cobalt cloud mountains faded into black marshy mists, and the illuminated buildings against that dark sky looked cut out of the scene. The trains coming from the south were coming wet, and those monsters were rolling towards me, grumbling and snorting in their anger.

The wall of rain over took a few of the orange afternoon-lit buildings and they were suddenly studded with diamond raindrops. With the sun at my back, I saw the rain advancing toward me. A rainbow jumped out in front of me and tried to hold back the torrent, but the storm threw a bolt of lightning and shattered it as it’s partners reached the sun disk in the southwest and shrouded it.

I stepped into the capsule of the train as the rain came beating down. Hissing and roaring, the storm lamented my escape. The train started up and we sped off towards the west. With a few raindrops on my shoulders and the leafy smelling wind still in my hair, I turned to gaze wide-eyed out of the train.

Ahead of me, the sky was still a vibrant tangerine color.

I was thinking today, as I passed over the Chicago River on the el, about things I can sink my teeth into. Like rivers. Like Lake Michigan. Like ladder-like pine trees. Like dunes. Like a steep grade and a narrow path, good shoes, and leg muscles. Like fresh air and flowering trees, like raindrops and layers of history exposed on the sides of sandstone cliffs. Like that yellow-gold-green that leaves turn when you are seeing the sun through them. Like dragonflies and those odd bugs that walk on the surface tension of river water. Like crayfish. Like waves. Like the copper-tasting water in the upper peninsula. Like arctic breezes, lost and wayward down here in the Midwest.

In short, I was thinking today about Michigan. I'm going back to Michigan in one week. I can hardly breathe without wishing I were breathing Michigan air. I can hardly cross the street without wishing I were crossing a Michigan street. Through the library windows, I could see Lake Michigan stretching out away from the city, miles of water and fish and seaweed, shipwrecks and sand. On the other side, waters are a clear cerulean. Here, they are an odd perversion of teal that looks sickly.

Around my neighborhood here in Chicago, I feel differently. I will miss little Albany Park when I'm gone, I think. Getting off of the Brown Line at Francisco, I sometimes find myself thinking of Chicago the same way I think of Grand Rapids. It's not quite words, more like a strong inclination. I get the urge to climb trees, explore houses, walk down alleys, roll in the grass, and slip behind bushes into their secret kingdoms.

Today, the sun came out just before sunset to give the world a hallowed kind of look. The flowering trees in front of the apartments across of Sacramento street gave off a wavering scent in the cool breeze. The rain a couple of days ago washed away the thickness of the air, and now it was clear and sharp. Now, you could inhale the fragrance of those tiny white flowers all the way down to the bottom of your lungs without stuffing up your nose, without causing your eyes to redden and tear. The grass was brightly green against the reinvigorated blackness of the soil. In the house on the corner of Sacramento and Leland, someone served dinner in the airy dining room. The streets were clear and dry. I wanted to get out my bike and tool around, or cover the sidewalks in chalked hopscotch boards. I wanted to get into those bushes and create worlds out of their encompassing branches. I wanted, desperately, to be little again, to have the freedom of late afternoons again. I didn't want to think back or ahead, I just wanted to exist in the ocher-golden light of the evening, and play.


 I don't write like this much anymore, and I wonder where I lost it. But I still feel the sense of wonder at the changing of the seasons whether I am in Michigan, Chicago, or here in silly old Maryland. The earth is beneath me, the sky above, and nature pervades throughout.

“I feel a pull on the rope, let me off at the rainbow…” - Genesis, “Anyway”
“I can see the orange sky in front of me, I can see things you’ll never see...” Days of the
New, “Whimsical”

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