Past the initial beauty of the skyline, Millennium Park, and Chicago’s other famous features, the true spirit of the city can be seen in the mundane. Aleksandar Hemon’s “Reasons Why I Do Not Wish To Leave Chicago: An Incomplete, Random List” expresses the purest beauties of the city that can only be experienced once you have completely immersed yourself in the city.
Having only lived in the city for a few weeks, I haven’t had -couldn’t have- the same experience with the city as the author describes. However, there is something universal about the way he speaks of his home. Getting to know a place in the way the author describes is allot like getting to know a person. There are the initial impressions; how a person presents themselves, how they talk and act for the general public. With extended interaction, you can start to really know someone. Eventually you can know someone so well that you can see how they act when they are alone. The observations expressed by the author shows that he truly knows what Chicago is like by itself. The way he illustrates the mundane serenity he’s experienced throughout the city really expressed this idea: “Early September, anyplace in the city, when the sunlight angles have abruptly changed and everything and everyone appears better.” What I find incredible is that of all the grand monuments and structures, he is in awe of a lighting change. His image of the city is so personally constructed.
In my home town (about and hour train ride north of here) we are known for our quaint old main street, our 2-mile stretch of car dealerships, and and a rose garden. Having lived there for the first 18 years of my life I began to discover my own little inlets of solitude that I far more heavily associate with home: There is a tree house me and my friends would go to. A janky plywood platform that sits up 15 feet over the ground and the lake. Watching over the lake on a winter night, the lights from the high school on the other side reflecting off of the snow. We would talk about the future and feel Ok. It is those type of moments that I look forward to experiencing in the city.
Taking Hemon’s “Reasons Why I Do Not Wish To Leave Chicago: An Incomplete, Random List” as advice, I meandered my way towards the end of the planetarium. I took my shoes of near the water and let the wake flow over my feet. When a wave would flow over the edge, before dispersing, I could look into the water horizontally and really grasp the mass of the water. A step closer to home. (Bennett Fuhrman/ City of Stories Student)