Saturday, March 29, 2008

What I Saw at the Beach

When I moved to Chicago many years ago, I lived and worked within walking distance of Lake Michigan. I’d often go to the lake at lunchtime to clear my mind. Or, after dinner, to watch the day turn to evening. The lake calmed me, and I enjoyed its many moods.

Now, I live and work miles west of the lake. But I have a friend who lives right there, and when I visit this friend, I often take time to walk down to the beach. This afternoon, as I pulled away from my friend’s house I thought about stopping at the lake, and then about how I didn’t have time to stop, and then about forcing myself to stop and do something good for myself. Ultimately, I turned down a side street, double-parked my car, and walked quickly to the shoreline to soak up a little of Lake Michigan’s beauty. After all, the sky was blue; the air was crisp and clean.

But Lake Michigan looked dirty—the water was brownish blue. Way far out, at the horizon, I saw what seemed to be clear blue water. I stayed for just a few minutes, and I didn’t feel better. Today, Lake Michigan failed to energize me.

I don’t recall that ever happening before.

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