Pilgrimage to Lake Michigan in Photographs: Day 30

Pilgrimage to Lake Michigan in Photographs: Day 30
February 20, 2014

There’s a distinctive hiss from traffic along Lakeshore Drive as I stand at the edge of a Lake Michigan clouded by fog. I can barely see the breakwaters that normally provide my gateway.

It strikes me as funny that 30 days into this project of close observation, my vision is shrouded. I struggle to perceive even the slightest glimpse of what is out there. I pause to consider that; the effort of observation, to experience what is before you, to focus the mind.

Over my right shoulder, City workers are replacing bulbs that are out in the lights lining the promenade. Their neon jumpsuits glow. All the promenade lights are switched on in the darkness, even though it’s noon.

The the lake looks mushy rather than icy today, the white snow blending in to the surface. Navy Pier is completely obscured. I can barely make out the Shedd on my right, and the Adler is lost in the grey.

This is super beautiful. Sublime.

At my feet, the concrete walkway is deceptive. It appears merely damp, but my steps meet sudden patches of slick, unvisible on the surface; and I have a brief, cartoon-ish vision of myself sliding unwittingly into the slush.

Since the snow has melted away from it, I’ve noticed markings on the edge of the concrete wall. I don’t understand their meaning; no context in which to place them. Numbers in sets of three, a dash, and another set of three. These are separated by lines spray-painted on the concrete. It gives the impression of a DIY process to determine the lakefront; impose an order on this vast challenging water mass.

Today, I almost feel an obligation towards lightheartedness at the promise of spring, borne by the melting and dripping. But instead, the shrouding brings a soft melancholy. Maybe just bittersweetness in the shift of seasons? More possibly it’s mild worry about the rains, concern at what that might mean in my basement.

I haven’t been here long, yet the soft mist that accompanied my approach has shifted imperceptibly into a steady drenching rain.

I turn to go.

Hasta mañana.

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