Fences seem to make some people feel secure. Property management people certainly seem to think so; so many buildings in Rogers Park are in one way or another fenced from the street. Perhaps they feel it gives the impression that chaos and entropy are kept at bay, that all of the people who live by the rules (including the people who rob others using a pen) can be reassured that here their scrupulous efforts will be rewarded as they should be.
I don’t know. It doesn’t do that for me. I see fences and it says, instead, these people are frightened. And maybe there is something to be frightened of? And if not? And how does that fear, justified or not, creep into other parts of their lives? In fencing people out, you are also fencing yourself in.
I can’t say fences have no use, should not exist. But pus is useful too, and ubiquitous fencing seems to me like an infected wound. Oh, America! Get well soon.
In terms of motion only, it makes sense. But thinking about when I had two cats, it makes no sense at all. You might think that two small cats, 9 pounds and 6 pounds and a good fraction of that being fur, would be as silent as fog when running down the hall. No: they may as well have been a herd of elephants in thunderous stride. It’s certainly no different with my upstairs neighbors’ cat, who never fails to evoke a pleasant nostalgia at random intervals throughout the day when making a run across their apartment.
Still, Friday the 14th was a foggy day:
Sandburg concluded with
It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on.
While Lake Michigan often gives unwary visitors an oceanic feel, it rarely comes very close to the mountainous rages of the real thing. This is about as lively as you’re likely to see, though the Lake can do better. Nonetheless, it was an odd Fall day. Both the Lake and the clouds seemed to come in waves, and the light did strange things with the air. It gave the afternoon a magical feeling of expectancy.
If this were fiction, it might be the setting for a story about a forlorn ghost that searches for the answer to a simple question: Why?
This isn’t fiction. But for the air and the light, it was a mundane afternoon.
Chicago has its good points… many of them… but without Lake Michigan one could live just as well in any number of cities. The lake is a spectacle of endless fascination… always the same but endlessly different.