I woke up this morning an hour and a half earlier than I needed to, per usual. I'm far from a morning person and all the interruption of sleep meant is a deep sigh and a grateful return to slumber. But it’s so much more relaxing of a process with gentle morning sun streaming through the window as opposed to a disorienting darkness. It’s one of the little unsung things I love about summer, those extra hours of morning sun. I didn't love the suffocating heat dogging me on my commute, but I silently repeated to myself that it was better than the alternative.
Labor Day weekend, in the minds of most people, signifies the symbolic end of summer. Warm weather may continue (the 90 degree temperatures outside surely convey that message) but most people begin to trade dreams of the beach and BBQs for reluctant visions of sweatshirts and turning leaves. In Chicago, this sentiment can't be any more pronounced. Since moving to the city three years ago, I found Chicago holds many things dear, but nothing is more cherished than Chicago summer. Those three months where a combination of outdoor activities, social fervor, and a reinvigoration of the human spirit make the other dreary memories of seemingly endless winter disappear.
So as I keep my fingers crossed for an Indian Summer, I walked home from work to take in a few things I'll miss about Chicago's favorite season. I soaked in the pleasant and upbeat murmur of the outdoor seating at the restaurants on Rush St. I watched the myriad of tourists taking picture of seemingly nondescript “landmarks” knowing that their numbers will thankfully dwindle in the coming weeks. I climbed to our rooftop, ignoring the beads of sweat instantaneously beading on my temples, to just watch foot traffic pass and hear kids yelling from the park nearby. It sounds melodramatic, but this city just has such a different energy in the summer that it’s like a friend leaving when it gets cold again. So here's to summer for helping me to appreciate the little things. But hey, at least its football season.
About the author: Justin Wagner is a media savant and grad student. When he's not indulging his artistic side through music or writing, he can probably be found watching bad reality TV. He Tweets at @JWags85
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