Pocketing Chicago

I'm trying to fit together vignettes of our latest trip to Le Windy City, trying to jam together pieces of contrasting colors before I even have the border connected. Then again, Chicago isn't about borders. It's not about looking at the box and determining where, exactly, a portrait of a moment belongs. No, Chicago is the whole mess of pieces, dumped out and mixed together, some upside-down and some right-side up. It's not meant to make sense. If you were to finish the puzzle, you'd only be able to run your hands over the glossy surface. You'd see the picture, but you wouldn't be able to dig your hands into the pieces, into the dust, and stir and mix and turn over and get hung up on corners and oddly-shaped nooks. That's what Chicago isthe hidden gems, the cafes just around the corner. I mean, sure, it's about Buckingham Fountain and the John Hancock and walks on Michigan Avenue and deep-dish pizza. Chicago is all of those things, too. But it's also about feet hitting the streets at various rhythms, pulsing toward their own errands, their own destinations. It's about the language and color and culture of three million people all trying to find their place in this double-sided puzzle. It's about adventure. It's about anonymity. It's about the clatter of the 'L' above Damen Street, and the platform, and the gritty steps that smooth the soles of my shoes like sandpaper. It's about riding the Brown Line to Wiener Circle, where I had my first Chicago-style hot dog, with onions and pickles and mustard that Ty wiped from the corner of my mouth with his thumb. I fed a pigeon a fry, let the breeze take my hair, and wanted, desperately, to tuck the city into my pocket, bury it beneath my Ventra card.



  1. I always love your Chicago photos. They help me feel as though I'm visiting even though I'm not. I do think it's time for me to take a trip there very soon.


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