Chicago emptied out some over Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Large rollerbags and their owners fill aisles of the Blue and Orange Lines. Some restaurants and independently-owned stores close for the long weekend or take a proper, well-deserved week away. The highways are even more congested than usual — to Rockford, to Wisconsin, to Indiana, to Iowa, to any place not-Chicago.
Those of us who remain, however, enjoy the last sweet breath of summertime — Labor Day Weekend.
Many of us, I predict, will spend some time this weekend at (or if you’re luckier, on) our city’s treasure… the Lake. That’s Lake Michigan.
This video vignette making the social media rounds quite deservedly underlines why, if you visit Chicago, you want to get on a boat.
But if you’re landlocked like 99% of us plebians, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the Lake.
Because post-Great Chicago Fire, architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham put forth a vision of a lakefront greenspace for all to enjoy. This treasured greenspace is at once a few things in its magnificence: gymnasium, picnic area, bar, tanning bed, reading room, and above all in my eyes, spiritual center.
There’s the active set on the bike trail: runners in increasing wattages of florescent high performance clothing, rollerbladers with wide-legged strides that seem to warrant their own lane, bikers resplendent in spandex and calling out “On your left” to errant pedestians. Volleyballers string up their nets on the sand (yes, we have a beach). Softballers kick up dust on the diamonds, waiting for the pitch. We’ve got families, we’ve got folks on teams, in pairs and alone. The Lake is a place where we can be alone, and alone together.
We do swim in it. Notgonnalie, the water is not crystal clear. The guys, the gals strap on their suits and slather on their sunblock. Stay away from the water at the doggie beach and what I fondly call the soggy diaper area. You’ll know what I mean.
And there are innumerable of us, just looking out towards it, contemplating own own problems against its vastness or thinking about nothing at all upon its lovely breeze.
Added, August 31, 2014. Here are a few pictures I took on a bike ride yesterday.