Walking and Chicago

Was in Chicago the last four days. Each day was occupied from morning to early evening. At night, time was my own.

I've never been to New York City. I've been to Los(t) Angeles multiple times but vague on what "Los Angeles" is. I was thrilled to be in Chicago for the first time. Daunting history both known and unknowable. Tall, dense architecture. Great weather. Walked around about 25 miles in three days. Weather was cloudy, colors in photos subdued, but the air was mild and ideal for strolling.

Took an L train line to the projects in South Side. Foolish to wear an expensive(ish) camera slung around my neck? Blocks of concrete grounds and grass overgrown in the cracks. Citgo gas stations with people hanging out all around the grounds. Sitting and leaning against their cars, some on their car hoods. Loud music. Conversations and boasts and teasing and conferral about errands and later plans. Growing up in Oregon, it is just about impossible to find any city block without white people. For about a mile from the Garfield station to the University of Chicago no other white people, no Latinos, either. I trotted across streets, but kept a normal pace otherwise. Didn't have time to go through Hyde Park or Washington Park (it was 8:00 p.m. when I got there) but wished I could.

I wanted to museum the brains out of Chicago real, real hard. Museums closed at 5 p.m. Closest I got was walking into the Chicago Cultural Center where I snapped the above photo (and about 80 more). Small galleries, beautiful domed roofs.

It's fun to spend that much time in completely new geography, open to whim, deep in your own self-reliant mind but also distracted from drawing too inward by the excitement of the sounds and sights.

But, to be honest, I missed having someone else to turn to and get their thoughts and cast light from different angles on all of these new things. It would have meant traveling more slowly, touring decisions by committee, but the conversations, moments of standing in place and taking things in would have been deeper, more informed, richer.

I want to come back to Chicago.