#280: The Beauty

February 10th, 2014

I kept looking on Saturday.

I kept looking from the packed basement of Block 37 to the empty third floor, vacant but for one storefront and two hipsters.

I kept looking through Ogilvie Transportation Center, where weekend visitors with weekend visitor smiles headed out from the trains into the cold muck.

I kept looking up and down Michigan Avenue.

I kept looking through the neighborhoods, through the city, through the Loop proper and on the trains.

But I couldn’t find any story prettier than the sprinkling snow by Daley Plaza.

The snow sprinkled down against slate Miesian and that weird skyscraper church. It sprinkled against the Picasso and the disturbing double-decker McDonald’s kitty-corner behind. On Saturday, it sprinkled over the shoppers, the homeless and the giant TV screen always showing CBS 2 in the beautiful plaza by the Cook County administrative offices.

Is that enough?

Is that enough to look at a city and say some parts are pretty sometimes?

Is it enough to look at the sky and see a moment of beauty as the snow shuffling down blots the ugly in a nice-looking way? Is it enough to lean against the stone railings for the underground garage, brush off where smokers put out their butts and stare at the power company substation, blank but for the art deco man wielding two lightning bolts?

Is it enough to say the world looks nice sometimes?

Life in a city is a hideous tick-tock. Clock faces and owl cars and beggars who say surprising, daunting things. Friends who turn out to be more. Enemies who turn out to be less.

People say it’s hard, so why does it seem so simple sometimes?

Other people can have the complex for a day. They can have the surprising and daunting. For a single day, I’ll have the snow. I’ll watch the light and cold form magic, sprinkling down over the shoppers and Picasso of a weekend afternoon at Chicago’s Daley Plaza.

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The power substation (look for “Holabird & Root”)

Clocks and Owl Cars

Surprising, daunting things

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You are currently reading #280: The Beauty by Paul Dailing at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

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