High- and low-brow cultural goings-on in the Second City, brought to you by a roving microtechnoanthropologist

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

November 4, 2008, Chicago

Spring here is really little more than a rumor. In some ways, though, it's all the more impressive watching taut bundles of life cling to their branches through the frost, ice storms, and of course wind for which we are famous. (In Peru, revealing that I am from Chicago is always met with a grave, knowing nod, "Mucho viento.")

Spring here is muddy and often grey. And cold, although most of us are prone to sartorial denial about this. We move, heads down, necks pulled into the inadequate collars of our useless spring jackets, declaring the weather "Brisk!" to one another through chattering teeth.

I'm not a fan of spring, or of summer for that matter, but I can't help but get a little rush of excitement the first time we have that distinctive chalkboard smell after a rain. I can't help admiring that bonnie blue spring sky. And when those stubborn little buds eventually uncoil and leaves stretch out to one another, when there's a solid canopy of green interrupted only by a road map of veins, it's beautiful.

But honestly, even I—I who have so much green in my wardrobe that I try not to leave the house without performing what I call the "cabbage check"—get tired of all that uniformity. I love fall for its short days. I love it for its dry, crackling smells. I love its overcast afternoons and howling wind. But what I really love is how the relentless green gives way to an incredibly diverse palette as each species, each tree makes a separate peace wth its own cyclical death.

November 4, 2008, was a beautiful day in Chicago. And I took pictures. Partly to keep from going insane, of course, but partly because I really wasn't convinced that Wednesday wouldn't bring another disappointment, and I felt an urgent need to preserve that beauty and have something that would remind me of that feeling of hope, of possibility, of progress.

November 4, 2008, was a beautiful day in Chicago, but it was also a day that brought disappointments—terrible and important disappointments in California, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida. I think those losses are attributable in part to ambitions for what we can be that withered as we watched ourselves become something terrible. But there is beauty, there is possibility, there can be progress. And I have pretty pictures of trees to prove it.

More here, including Hound Pr0n for those not into fall foliage pr0n.

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