Snow Day ChicagoPosted: 03/02/2011
A snow blower grumbles and North Bridge answers. Crystal tears are thrown to the wind, wiping the sidewalk slate clean.
The hotel employee is friendly. Everybody is friendly in a ghost town.
Less than twenty-four hours ago the mass exodus happened and everything disappeared. Cars spun wheels in vain irony while traffic stabbed west, escaping the North Loop. The 65 was packed with people, puffy jacket to puffy jacket, cramming its way home. The notion that it was faster to walk than ride was lost upon them.
They contented themselves to the luxury of wait. Put life on pause; stall with it. Embrace: stoplights, stop signs, vehicles trapped midway through an intersection.
Today, though, everything is beautiful, pristine. Snow stacks itself in frozen waves, cresting against buildings–never breaking, just resting.
Exchanging a nod with a fellow pedestrian, she takes a picture of the untarnished snow. Perhaps she knows, too, in a matter of hours this will all go away. It, all of this, shall be replaced with the grime of the city, charring everything to dull gray.
Music chimes from headphones as another drift is summitted, another street crossed. Lyrics and song from somewhere far, far away, without intention, flesh out the soundtrack. The moving picture plays before the eyes, filling in the dialogue for the people dancing down Michigan Avenue.
A laugh ripples through the strings, arresting attention towards a school girl falling backwards, down, into the powder. Her arms flutter up then return to grace. The chaperon holds hand to heart, before blanching face to smile.
At the bridge, still a few blocks north of the loop, a TV crew idles. This is not the struggle, the violence, the war against weather they wished for. Instead the eye of a camera, playing for those not here, witnesses steam curling off a cup of coffee from one of the few shops opened. In the contrast, a man walks against windows, his reflection spinning the only chaos against an otherwise unpainted picture.
A jeep kicks up slush and the dream is over.
Awakened to discover the city is not nearly as hostile as they were lead to believe, the world rises. Setting down books and loved ones, they allow the whipped-cream to melt into hot chocolate, promising themselves to wash it clean after half-a-workday.
The wind cuts and the soft snow turns razors against the face, sending tiny stings into frozen cheeks.
It’s time to go home.
Tomorrow this will be in order. The next day it will be forgotten. A footnote in the history of life. One to speak of with subdued passion upon short rumination.
“Yeah, I was there. It wasn’t really that big of a deal.”