Art and the philosophy of life

Archive for the ‘Chicago’ Category

Chicago and guns…Memorial Day Weekend.

Chicago skyscrapers…at least a couple of them…words

I was looking through
the new issue of
and saw a photo of a woman
walking down a dirt road
with mountains
on either side
all I could think about
was how much I didn’t like
the picture
and how it made me feel
mountains are
who might be angry
that we keep building
roads through them
I feel as if they
don’t always have
the best intentions
and maybe
just maybe
they may fall on us
I mean they do that sometimes
but the extroverted skyscrapers
in the city
make me feel safe
and happy
they seem like
watching over all of us
and they are always
filled with good thoughts
happy to see people walking by
comfortable with everyone sitting
on parts of them
in their own right
are the kind of
mountains I love
those made by
Mother Nature
not so much
they’er far too quiet
but maybe that’s because
they have so many
secrets to keep
while skyscrapers
just want to party

Chicago…a poem (2 pictures)

Free Aerial Photography of City Buildings Stock Photo

we all love different things
I love Chicago
this photo
makes Her look beautiful
which is easy to do
since She is gorgeous
but things look different
from the ground
and it depends
on where you’re standing
while the city stays the same
the people change
today’s Chicago
isn’t like the one
I grew up in
I’ve lived here all my life
and now there are places
I can no longer visit
because of the violence
places that have been
turned into danger zones
the violence is getting worse
people are angry
angry at being poor
at police brutality
at the status quo
at the fact that nothing changes
for the better
that promises are broken
or were never intended
to be made real
I love Chicago
She’s beautiful
when I’m standing on Michigan Avenue
across from the Art Institute
and The Bean
I breathe Her in
watch the kids playing
at the fountain
as water squirts
out of the mouths of the people
pictured on the wall
I feel safe
I’ve never once felt afraid
I feel the city
alive in me
I am Chicago
but I’ve had an easy life
and that makes all the difference
I never saw kids who were shot to death
in the street in front of my house
no drug deals went down
on my block
people had food
and the necessities
not everyone in the city
is that fortunate
I never lived where there were
food deserts
gun shots day and night
violence in the streets
every city
has areas where people
are held back
and down
areas where others
have what they need
and still other places
where city money goes
to keep those who live in the Gold Coasts
it has never been fair
I wish I could change things
but then
we all wish for a lot of things
don’t we


Photo:  Cameron Casey


Chicago fountain…the kids love it.  I took this a couple of summers ago.  No sun, but lots of fun.

Chicago’s weather…

The day before yesterday it was sunny and 86 degrees.  Today it’s 31 degrees and it’s snowing.

Chicago el…a poem of sorts

train traveling in city

it’s loud
and sometimes
it seems to lean
it fell off the track once
when my cousin was on it
but it’s pretty safe
and sometimes
with wet
snow covered
dressed in black coats
to stave off the dirt
of winter
in the city
it circles around
The Loop
clickety clack
and gets people
close to where they’re going
it’s necessary
and weird
when looked at
from below
and it’s ours
it’s just part of


Photo:  Benjamin Siter

Okay, so…

It’s windy today.  Right now the wind is 23 mph, but gusts are supposed to go up to 50.  I know Chicago is called the Windy City because of politicians talking forever, but it truly is a windy city.

I always wonder how the trees feel about the wind.  When it’s really bad they rock back and forth and it looks as if they can’t help but break in two.  But they don’t.  Well, most of them don’t, anyway.  Is it fun for them to be caught in the wind?  Is it like a rollercoaster ride…a little scary, but fun, nonetheless?

After a wind storm there are branches and limbs on the grass and in the street.  Some of the older trees, can’t take the wind, but I have to wonder if the baby trees are afraid, or just having a good time.

A couple of weeks ago, the wind hit, just for a short time, and my umbrella was up in the patio table.  The wind picked up the entire metal table, broke the umbrella off of its post, and threw everything across the yard.  The post literally snapped in half.  The part that’s left is still in the table and the heavy bottom the post was in, is still sitting where the table was once sitting.   It just pulled the table out of the bottom holder, broke the post, then threw everything around, and went on its way.  Temper tantrum or fun?  I think it’s just the way the wind blows.

In the end, it’s probably just Mother Nature reminding us of exactly who is in charge.  Things go flying around, now and then, kids wading pools filled with water, just get picked up and flung to a new spot.  

It’s a tricky thing.  It might look calm, so you go out for a walk, then hear a soft chuckle, as the wind slams into you, pushing you forward, or sideways.  It’s kind of like Russian Roulette without a gun.  You just go out and take your chances.

If trees could talk, or if we could understand them when they do, I wonder what they would say about the wind.

Okay, so…

This is one of the books I bought at the used bookstore, today.  The photographs are great and there’s a bit of history on each page.  The pictures are a page and a half in size, so it’s perfect.  Like its name, it’s a cool book.  That’s The Bean on the cover.  Real name is Sky Gate, but we call it, The Bean.

Here’s the thing.  Having lived in Chicago my entire life, which is a very long time, well, not before they had streets, or anything, but a long time, nonetheless, and there are some places, in the book, I never knew existed…bars, etc., (different part of the city).

I never claimed to know anything about the city I love, and I REALLY love Chicago.  I mean I can’t tell you the names of all the buildings, their history, or much at all.  Those things never mattered.  I have books on the skyscrapers, their names, who designed them, built them, etc., but I don’t read them.  I want to know, I just can’t get myself to care.

Anyway, I’ve been to a lot of the places in the book, and at least seen some of the others.   I hung out at some of them, when I was young.

The photographs of city lit up at night are breathtaking.  Chicago is gorgeous.  I admit I’m prejudice, but it’s still true.  She’s beautiful.  She sparkles.


Things to come…Chicago style.

it’s 87 degrees right now
the sun is out
the trees are green
the above picture
was taken
at The Chicago Botanic Garden
during the winter
I have no idea
why my cousin and I went there
when there was that much snow
but we did
lost a glove
laughing and freezing
for a few hours
I just saw the picture
and I’m hoping
this winter will be

Okay, so…cities

So, here’s the thing.  I read so may blogs that have gorgeous photographs of forests and streams and words that tell everyone about the beauty of nature and how peaceful it is and how calming and wonderful (that, was a run on sentence).

But I rarely, see anyone writing about the majesty and beauty of cities…of skyscrapers, or the noise and wonder of millions of people, mostly getting along, or ignoring each other.

When I’m downtown (Chicago) I love to stand on the corner across from The Art Institute and just close my eyes and take it all in.  The music of cars and voices, the smell of gas fumes, and flowers, hot tar and horns.  It’s fabulous and makes my heart skip a beat, not because I’m being poisoned, but because I LOVE IT!  I love skyscrapers.  I love being in skyscrapers and looking out at the city/lake.  I love the crowds, the noise and the incredible dance of people avoiding each other on the sidewalks.  I love all of it.  I love the huge flower baskets, the banners, the Bean, the Bandstand.  I love the LAKE.  I grew up at the North Avenue Beach.  I love the rocks and I LOVE the pigeons and the people who feed them.  I love the city.  It’s calming, energizing, fulfilling and MY lake is as sweet as any stream, even it it does eat people and keep them forever.  There’s a dangerous vibe, a love of life feeling, a mixing and mashing of cultures, art is everywhere, and again, the pigeons, who have a city attitude. And yes, the attitude is wonderful and familiar and it’s toughness and brutal and kind and sweet and it gives me so much more than a quiet day in the woods could ever give me.

I took this picture a couple summers ago.  So beautiful to me.  Standing next to a skyscraper makes me feel safe and puts people in their place as the tiny ants that they are.  The huge buildings are sentinels who guard the city and Her people.  Sure, there can be violence, but there’s violence in the woods as well.  It’s all about what you’re used to.  It’s all about what you love and know.

There’s beauty in everything, and everything feeds someone, fills their needs, wants, desires, idea of beauty.  Not everyone loves forests and streams.  They can actually creep some of us out, creating feelings of isolation and impending doom.

I know some people hate cities.  I can understand that.  The thing is, no one gives cities enough credit, so I just thought I’d let everyone know that cities can create their own kind of peaceful beauty.  You can listen to its sounds, that are just as calming as a babbling brook, if that’s what you’re used to.  If that’s what makes you smile.

Chicago is just a different kind of wilderness.  Wild, untamed and definitely mine.  It makes me feel invincible.



Please listen to this very short video by Illinois governor JB Pritzker.

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