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On Chicago

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

It was past midnight, and I couldn’t take my eyes away from the window as we drove from O’Hare into the Loop. After dark is the best time to view the city, when the bare architecture is illuminated by blue and yellow lights, and the highways are not so crowded, the cars flowing like blood cells in the veins of a creature whose twice-daily pulse governs its waking and resting life. It is one of my more mystical notions that cities can speak, and I believe anyone who’s lived in a city long enough will understand what I mean. Each season is a mood, which decides more than anything the tone with which the city speaks—autumn is my favorite season, when amber leaves dance down the air with grace and cool gusts of wind sweep through the streets like sentimental sighs. I was reminded by the heat (much heavier here than in London) that it was summer now, which is just as well in Chicago. The city sings with a seductively upbeat verve, passionately pleading its residents to work less and enjoy more, warming its beaches but keeping the water cool, preserving its easy and open posture even as thousands of visitors roam its streets. It is not a slow city, but it is strangely quiet.



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