As you know, I read the Chicago Tribune on a regular basis, and the feature columns and editorials often hold more interest to me than the news. This is because I can get my national and world news from many other sources, so it is the local news and the creative pieces which really attract my attention. For example, in Lincoln, my favorite newspaper columns were from Cindy Lange-Kubick (and not just because she wrote features about me on two separate occasions).
As long as I have been in Chicago, Mary Schmich, a regular columnist at the Tribune, has written a piece in early June about savoring summer. As she mentioned, one year she took out a stack of index cards and wrote a “summer-like” thing that she did each day. To me, this reminds me somewhat of counting the עומר, in the sense of being a count-up to be able to reflect on how far we have come over the summer. Of course, anticipation for autumn might not be in everyone’s mind.
In some sense, the Schmich columns have been the Expy to Lange-Kubick, to give me somewhat of a taste of home. Both of them have similar writing styles from what I can tell, and their writing is highly relatable to my life.
There was also the suggestion of “Summer Hour,” which is hopefully self-explanatory. In some sense, my “Summer Hours” have often been, at least in Chicago, riding my bike whether aimful or aimless. I don’t always put in an hour of “summer” each day, but I ought to.
The last line on her article was what REALLY stood out to me, and relates to what happened yesterday. Quoted:
There is no photo of the summer sky on Facebook that is as beautiful as the sky itself.
I can go into a few paragraphs about this in order to reflect on the article, based on yesterday. As it turns out, yesterday I was VERY summery, as I rode my bike to downtown Chicago from Evanston, but with a particular aim in mind–the Taste of Randolph Street. I wanted to go because Falldown, the rock-country band that Jared, one of my Birthright acquaintances, is lead singer in, was performing at 15:30.
So I got there, after lots of stop-and-go in the city. Near the east entrance was the east stage (I guess that should be obvious 🙂 ), and I saw Jared, Sarah, and a few other familiar faces. After a little bit of catch-up conversation, they recommended that I get food prior to the concert, and I did that. I do not often attend street festivals, although I have fun whenever I do (Capital City Ribfest, Fountain Square Art Festival 2012, Winnetka Sidewalk Days 2010, etc.) even if just for the cultural experience rather than eating or shopping.
The festival was set up in the center of Randolph Street–in this stretch there were three separate areas of the street separated by medians, and the festival was in the center. As I walked past the KYBOs, food stands from various restaurants on Randolph Street were on my right, and people were standing, eating, chatting, smoking, etc. on the left. Near the stand for the meat market, where I saw meats roasting on a fire and a long line, I overheard someone behind me shout out, “Lindsay!”
I must have had a psychic sense after looking closer at the line–Lindsay from Sunny-Side Up was in line! WHAT A PLEASANT SURPRISE! This is one great thing about festivals, fairs, conventions, and other large-scale public events. (Actually, I will have to write something about that claim in another post.) And Lindsay told me that Kristin was somewhere in the region. As I was talking with her, Kristin approached from behind with her boyfriend and elicited the same excited scream as the first time I came to WNUR when she was in, along with a big hug.
After a little bit of conversation, including a sincere thank-you for the heartfelt letter that I had written a few months ago, I continued to seek out food, and got an Irish mint-chip ice cream from the Cone stand. It was quite tasty as I walked back to the East Stage, and I did not see any other familiar faces on the way back. I realized after the fact, “Oops! Should have gotten a photo with them!” However… let’s look at the block quote a few paragraphs above again.
Yes, indeed. Photos don’t always do an experience justice. Sometimes, the memory can be a lot stronger than the photo. I reflected on this a little bit after Birthright: “A picture may be worth a thousand words, but an experience is worth a thousand pictures.” I am NOT of the conviction of “pics or it didn’t happen.” There are a lot of events where photos will not tell the whole story, and you do need words to describe it. Each person’s facial expression conveys information that is contextual. (And to think of ME analyzing this…)
After the Falldown concert, of which my favorite songs were Slay Me and Eternal Fire, I did get a photo with Sarah and Becky. So I didn’t strike out on the photographs. I wanted Jared to join in the photo as well, but he had to leave immediately for another gig somewhere in western Illinois. Busy times for entertainers, I suppose!
All in all, it was a great summer day that I fully enjoyed yesterday. Even if it is not technically summer yet (wait until this coming Saturday), it is traditional in the USA to consider “summer” to be between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Hopefully this is one of many fun summery events that I do, if I can fit in the time between research and teaching that I will do in July!
Today is the one-hundred and sixty-sixth day of M.M.X.I.V. That makes twenty-three weeks and five days.