We have been traveling in the Chicago area for the past few days, and I must say folks spotted us Californians miles away. They chuckled, they were amused and they had no idea why we scuttled and huddled like penguins in winter when it was clearly spring – ask the daffodils who were springing up to say hello to Lincoln statues everywhere.
Illinois does not let you forget that Lincoln hailed from there. The roadways, streets, statues and even a bust in a university that had a funny story of a Lincoln statue whose nose folks rubbed for good luck. I tried rubbing the daughter’s nose for luck, but it didn’t seem to amuse her much. A shame really – for the very child as a toddler was famed for joyously peeling off a gargling laugh like a tinkling stream every time we made her nose ‘disappear’ in what seems like just a few years ago. Oh well. Time.
I saw some folks out with light jackets, a spring in their step, and not so much as a cap. We? Well, once you wear the cap, mask, gloves, extra thick jacket, thermals, boots, you’d think there isn’t much place left to freeze. But there is. And we froze with every gust of wind by Lake Michigan and Lake Mendota. After a lovely stroll through the park by the lake, I mumbled through the layers to the daughter, “Nothing makes you feel so alive as catching that gasp of crisp air right?!”
Her muffled retort made it past all the layers, and she said, “Oh – is that what we are calling this chilling cold now? Crisp! Ma!”
I must say driving from Chicago to Madison, Wisconsin and then from there to Urbana Champaign back to Chicago made for a marvelous time. It was good for the soul to contemplate the nothingness and vast expanse of space in the world. The Greek myths of Hades and Persephone’s plight came alive in those days starker than anywhere else I’ve seen. The Earth was barren for miles and miles around us. Spring planting had not yet begun, and what would have been green fields on either side in the summer and fall were empty, preparing for another season. The cold winds and a slightly snowy day made for exciting drives on the interstates reminding us of Lincoln’s Illinois. Windmills flailed their arms long and wide, while the little car shuddered along with the whipping winds and the large vehicles on the road.
Other days made for marvelous blue skies with scudding clouds. The characteristic blue skies and white clouds of Planet Earth are especially welcome when one is traveling and out and about.
We were told by indulgent folks that they experienced 4 seasons – a dig at Californian winters, no doubt. But after the cold days of Illinois springs, I am quite ready to take on the winters of California, and headed out on a rainy day walk almost as soon as I could find my bearing s again, only to be rewarded by a marvelous rainbow for Earth Day!
What’s more I didn’t have to pull my freezing fingers out of their gloves to take these pictures.