. . . Chicago is calling me home. A lyric of one of my favorite songs. I realized anew tonight how much I love my city and how happy I am with my life here. For me, there truly is "no place like home."
I was riding the Purple Line tonight (for those of you not from around these parts, that's the "Elevated" - like a subway, but . . .um . . . elevated ;-). It's called, in the vernacular, "the L," or by its color). I was on my way back from getting my taxes done (don't ask). I got off at the Merchandise Mart, and walked across the river back to my office, where my auto was waiting for me.
It was relatively warm tonight, and the sky was very clear. It was that perfect shade of deep, deep blue, just before it's completely black, and all the lights had come on for the evening. I've been a lot of places, and so far, there is nothing that compares to the beauty of this city at night. The view East from the Wells' Street Bridge was achingly beautiful - I literally had to catch my breath. Commercial buildings lit up - Marina City lit up - streetlights and stop lights, headlights and cab lights, all shimmering off the river. And as I walked along I thought how lucky I am to live here.
I feel my shoulders get bigger whenever I think of Carl Sandburg's poem. If I had a flag I'd stick it in the ground and claim this city as my own. My late uncle used to say, "It's a hoppin' town." He was right. The energy here in this city is like no other. It's a braw, open, shake-your-fist-at-the-world roar - as if the lions in front of the Art Institute were telling their story. And yet, for all its "bright lights big city" vibe, the energy here is not disruptive. It's welcoming and comforting. The City of the Big Shoulders throws its Midwestern arms around me every day, and I never tire of it.
Someone said to me this morning how much they missed living in Southern California. I almost choked. They longed for the constant temps around 75 degrees and sunny day after sunny day. One of the things I missed most desperately when I lived there was weather. That, and the change of seasons. I used to pray for a cloud in the sky, a little bit of rain, or that it might get cool enough to wear a sweater . . .
I think Chicagoans appreciate the spring, summer and fall much more than most. We've had a real winter this year - far colder and with more snow than for a number of years. But I'm here to tell you: When that first warm spring day arrives here, and you're walking along the lakefront with the lake glistening in the sun, you forget you were ever cold.
It's no wonder I always come home again.