Chicago is many things- an absolute mecca for shoppers who are equipped to spend the totality of their life’s savings in one twenty-four period, an architect’s wet dream, a portal into another dimension for individuals who have resided exclusively in suburban locales. Yet, I feel as though there is one aspect of the city in particular (and a very large one at that) that is almost, dare I say, underappreciated among both tourists and locals of the like- Lake Michigan.
A large majority of individuals acknowledge its existence, of course (it’s a lake that seemingly expands into the depths of another universe, how could you not?) but sometimes, I feel as though everyone forgets just how inexplicably grandiose it is. Everyone except Ray Bradbury, of course (which I feel like is a pretty blanket statement for everything that he encompasses, to be quite honest.)
“The Lake” by Ray Bradbury perfectly articulates that of the lake’s splendor on a very conclusive, wholesome level, in my personal opinion. From talk of the “green silence” that envelopes you when you go under water and the occasional embrace from a “very elegantly stumbling wave that [falls] with a flourish of lace,” to the sand castles that line the shore in the summertime, Bradbury paints the lake in a very beautiful, nostalgic light.
Yet, a yin-yang of intricate design, he also simultaneously declares the lake to be a very ominous, insidious facet of the city. Most evident through the sentence “she had gone too far out, and the lake would not let her return,” Bradbury personifies the lake by giving it the villainous ability to claim the lives of those we love most. As devilish and gruesome as this may sound, Lake Michigan quite literally “chewed” Tally up and “spit” her out.
In this way, the lake is demonstrative of the city it harbors itself in- a beautiful, yet almost twisted locale that brings both unbelievable joy and painstaking distress. Chicago can either be a place of rich, limitless opportunity or a desolate rut saturated in all of the prospect that could have been- like Bradbury demonstrated with Lake Michigan, this city surely has the ability to “chew” you up and “spit” you out. Therefore, quite plainly synonymous to the fact that without the yin, there would be no yang- without Chicago, “The Lake” would not persist. (Savana Robinson/City of Stories Student)