A terra cotta keystone on an apartment building on North Clarendon Street in Chicago
Judging by the mounds of dirty snow in my apartment's shady courtyard, it's still the dead of winter in Chicago, but spring has to be close because there are already crocus budding a block away, birds I haven’t seen since Thanksgiving are back in town to check out the available nesting spots in the neighborhood (and, too, probably wondering what happened to the two white mulberry trees that were still in the front yard when the birds left) and here in the shop, customers who winter in Palm Beach and Montecito are starting to show up again--with tans. Those are all good signs, this time of year. I, of course, retain the normal pallor that comes naturally to one who spends most of his time indoors and whose southward travels generally go no farther than Cermak Road. Mayor Anton Cermak--in whose honor 22nd Street was renamed--went down to Florida one year about this time and look what happened. There's no reason to take unnecessary chances just to soak up a little sunshine. The stuff's over-rated.
The view out the window above my bed. Sometimes, it's easy to forget I live in a city of almost three million people.
Then somebody's stupid car alarm goes off.
No, I'm staying right here, close to home, and in recent days, it’s Chicago's year-round residents that I’m seeing--and hearing: just more of them. The raven that hangs out in the ancient cottonwood across the street wakes me up like he does every morning, no matter what the season is, but lately, he seems louder. Maybe I'm imagining it. And just this morning, I saw four fat cardinals in the tree right outside my window. Like me, like ravens, cardinals stay put when the weather turns cold, but still, I've never seen that many cardinals together before. Then again, Why not? The city's homeless population may be struggling more this year than in years past, but at least the cardinals are being well-fed. To him who has, more will be given, I guess. Soon enough, the noisy sparrows--who never think they have enough--will be fighting over snippets of the colored yarn that one of my neighbors threads through the bare twigs of the barberry hedge out front. The Circle of Life is a wonderful thing.
Meanwhile, down on Grand Avenue, the hyacinths & forsythia are blooming, I’m down to the last dozen or so of Debra’s rubber faux tulips and our Slush Gray walls are splotched with test swatches of green & yellow paint. Winter may have one last blizzard up its sleeve—face it, it is only March, and we are in Chicago—but at SG Grand, it is now officially Spring. Let the nesting begin.
Jacob Wrey Mould's limestone carving of 'Spring' at Bethesda Terrace in Central Park, NYC, courtesy of SummerQueen's photostream at Flickr.com
Do a good deed for somebody today: everybody deserves a home.