The photos below are of a mural facing an alley a block or two north of Devon Avenue along Clark Street. The photo above is a panel from the 2006 “Artists of the Wall” in Loyola Park (I rarely know who the artist is); it has something of a “bad date” feel to it, yes?
As a geezer, my humble opinion is that the southern Mexican celebration, Day of the Dead, makes much more sense than Halloween. We celebrate both, here in the Chicago neighborhood of Rogers Park. But in all the decades I’ve lived here, I’ve never had anyone “trick or treat”. Well, would you allow your kid to solicit candy from someone looking like me? You would if you knew me, but life is scary enough. Not that we’re much good at judging risk; otherwise, I’d not so often have the bench to myself on CTA trains during rush hour. (No complaints! I regard it as a benefit of grunge.)
Genuine carved pumpkin for Halloween. As with most “holidays”, Halloween is mostly a trick for you to treat capitalists with your money. Yea verily, it turns all that it touches into commodity. But we manage to have some fun with it anyway.
Photo by Roman, taken at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Having been an urban dweller all my life, I hadn’t realized that the prairie also turns color in the Fall. This was a delight to discover, and so the Chicago Botanic Garden’s restored prairie is a must see each time I visit.
It was a visit to Matthiessen State Park in Illinois one Fall that taught me the colors of the prairie. I was acquainted with the park by its older name, Deer Park, as it had been a regular summer visit during my childhood. At that time, it was mostly a smaller version of Starved Rock State Park, which it is very near though on a different river: all grotto, ravine and forest. Sometime later, it was expanded to include a neighboring farm that was restored to prairie. I first visited the prairie one Fall in the late 1970s with a girl friend and her near-kindergarten aged son.
Her son was none too keen on hiking, and when he became tired, like most kids his age, he began to lose control. We responded by telling him that whenever he needed to rest, we’d stop. He was as fascinated by this newly discovered power as I was by the prairie in all its Fall colors. We ended up hiking a long distance. It was win-win as he got a ride on my shoulders part of the way back.
Unfortunately, the relationship between his Mom and I did not default to friendship at the end, so my knowledge of their stories ends decades ago. I like to think they’ve done well, but I’m content with the memory and enriched by the colors of a prairie Fall.
Fall is my favorite season, despite its melancholy connotations. Here in Chicago, it tends to be a longish, humble period. The leaves of various species of tree turn color at their own convenience, only to be blown away by lively wind or pelting rain, leaving behind their still green neighbors. The season never quite explodes in color as it might elsewhere but falls asleep in stages.
This year seems to have been more quiet than the past several, so the season has gained in the intensity and the variety of its colors. Whatever other evil has been going down in the world, Chicago has been quite lovely, quite vivid, an explosion of color.
Good night, flora. Until next year, sleep tight. Thank you for the beautiful dream.
On Saturday October 26, a community support rally for the striking members of the Chicago Teachers Union and the Service Employees International Union Local 73 was held out in Union Park on Chicago’s near West side. (“Union” as in “United States”, though there is a statue of Governor Altgeld there.) For reasons good and not, I did not go. But, to wave the flag in support, here is an example of something that’s been happening on more than one picket line, so I’ve heard.
I’m a sucker for reflections. This one is a bit on the prosaic side, so I gussied it up by pretending to turn it into an oil painting. Still a bit on the prosaic side unless, of course, I had actually painted it. Tip: up to a point, it looks better as it gets larger.
These are actually sculptures in a building foyer just outside Chicago’s Loop. I haven’t bothered to learn the name of the sculptor or the artistic intent. And I imagine the building management doesn’t much care beyond having an otherwise large and sterile foyer of a brutal steel and glass building occupied by something denoting wealth and power. To me, though, they are demon machines… but maybe that’s just a psychedelic flash-back.