Saturday, August 23, 2008

from Chicago

If I were forced to live a life of great affluence in Chicago, I would consider setting up shop in Lincoln Park. There is a restrained aesthetic to the place, a sense of lovely calm that displaces images of the chaos and confusion just blocks away. Perhaps for this reason, we always make our way down here on our biannual trips to this city.

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Purchase photo 1983

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Purchase photo 1982

Until I moved to Madison (and excepting my first three years, which were spent in the most primitive Polish village), I had always lived in big cities – Warsaw (okay, relatively big), New York, then Chicago. My parents had (have?) a profound urban snobbishness about them and they passed it on to me, so that for the longest time I never imagined life could be good in a place without a significant downtown. When my father visited me in Madison (something that he did only once or twice, concluding after, that he had seen all that was worth seeing west of New York) he asked how I could stand living in such a suffocatingly small community. That it was naturally beautiful meant nothing to him. Mountains are beautiful. The ocean beaches are beautiful. Everything else is either New York, Warsaw, or boring.

And now, I can no longer imagine myself living in a city, especially one that lacks quick escape routes to the deep and quiet countryside (a problem with both Chicago and New York).

Still, places like Lincoln Park flaunt their loveliness and they tempt me to reconsider. In my imagination only, but still, it’s a nice little exercise. Could I ever do it?


But the walks down here are beautiful. The murals are beautiful. Even the dogs are beautiful.

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Purchase photo 1981

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Purchase photo 1980

It was the last day for me with both daughters. I could walk the barren landscape of a dessert and still find it a heavenly place with them at my side. Oh, daughters!

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