There are many salient Dundee references. Which of the following is most relevant to me?
A) A neighborhood in Omaha, Nebraska near the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
B) A village in Illinois, with an eponymous road as part of Route 68.
C) A Scottish city.
D) A crocodile.
If you answered “B”, you are correct!
As it turns out, this might be a post where a picture is worth a thousand words, but (A) I did not bring a camera or GoPro with me on Dundee Road yesterday, (B) The part that I will talk about primarily was during the night, when cameras tend to work somewhat ineffectually.
The Jewish United Fund (JUF) in Chicago holds many events for young professionals, including approximately-semiannual שבת (Shabbat) services and dinners at synagogues in the Chicago suburbs. I have attended two of these events prior to yesterday, and enjoyed them both. (Of course, I am not as well-connected as other attendees, but I always approach social events like this as an opportunity to meet someone new.)
The ride there was pretty pleasant, and it was actually a little bit chilly–I wore a jacket! On Dundee Road, there were many cars, some of which whizzed by me closer than I would have liked. Still, I rode in a straight, predictable pattern, and was not intimidated. Furthermore, I had full right to be on the road, as the Worst Signs In The World (i.e. a bike in a red-circle-slash) were nowhere to be seen on this road.
Let me skip ahead to after services and dinner, when I headed home.
Night had fallen on the Chicagoland area, as I exited the basement of Temple Beth El in Northbrook, preparing to ride the long-long 40 minutes (i.e. nearly double that!) back to Evanston. The steady flow of traffic that had dogged the road (but not caused any gridlock) earlier in the day was gone, replaced with only a few cars. Their headlights made me aware of their presence, as did my tail light and literal headlight that I invariably wear at night.
With the night at hand, it was harder to see the scenery, but in the suburbs, it is much easier to see the night-time sky. A couple of stretches of Dundee Road are bereft of street lights. Therefore, I ride through a road through a “forest,” and can glance (SAFELY!) up at the sky. It was a pristine sight, with cirrus clouds, and a FULL moon shining its O-shaped mouth at me. It was completely unobscured, and the legendary Strawberry Moon that others have been hyping.
Although it was fascinating, I found it to be underwhelming as compared to the huge, orange, harvest moon that graced the sky in Fort Dodge on an evening of סוכות (Sukkot) –I think it was in 1995. We were at “Glunket’s” house, and enjoying a dinner in the סוכה (sukkah). The most salient part of the night was that moon, which makes sense, given that סוכות is a harvest festival, and that it falls in the middle of the lunar month תשרי (Tishrei).
Fast-forwarding back to the middle of June 2014, the bike ride continued with the beautiful night sky guiding me, and a sparing number of cars on the road. There is some different feeling about riding a bike at night, and is something that I particularly enjoy. Sometimes, I feel like I am riding faster or at least more smoothly when there is less perception of the light. And, I feel more care-free (but NOT careless!)
The ride continued into Glencoe, after taking the bridge over the Edens Expressway (yes, I was then East of Eden(s)). Almost immediately, the lights that had graced the freeway and the interchange faded away from my sight, leaving the only light in the area to be my headlamp and the strawberry moon. No cars were in sight, as I passed the crosswalk linking the Forestway Trail that I had used earlier in the day to the Botanic Garden. For want of variety, I continued on Dundee, through a tortuous road en route to Glencoe.
The speed limit was 25 mph on this road, and it was a tree-lined neighborhood, with blind corners and No Passing Zones. It is quite interesting, however, that I mention tortuous, as it reminds me of the road to the Bedouin tents for a few reasons. My bus seatmate on that day was from Glencoe, and used to work at Writers Theatre, which I passed after turning onto Vernon Avenue from Dundee. It is very easy for me to make connections in that way…
So, I connected from Glencoe to Sheridan Road, and enjoyed the same beautiful night as I did on April 20, 2012, when I went to a JUF event at North Shore Congregation Israel. There’s another connection between these two days: the night was clear and a little chilly!
Yes, it can be dangerous to ride a bike at night, but when I got home, I made sure to let a few salient faces know that I arrived safely. Honestly, at night I am more concerned about crazy characters on the turf than I am about crazy characters behind the wheel.
Today is the one-hundred and sixty-fifth day of M.M.X.I.V. That makes twenty-three weeks and four days.