chicago is more known for slush then for light, white, fluffy snow. i lived in syracuse, ny when i was little and remember a winter wonderland full of sledding and snowmen. chicago snow is much too wet for a proper snowball let alone a snowman. however, last tue evening it came down, and was glorious, and broke a 125 year record . it came down and settled in a layer 12.5” deep.
at first, like most chicagoins, i was a bit less than thrilled. somehow all the project runway episodes as of late got the better of me and i made a less than sensible choice in footwear for the day. my feet stayed dry on the walk from k’s house, all through the bus and L ride. however, when the red line spit me out at north and clybourn the streets and side walk were nothing but slush and puddles; huge puddles, the kind you don’t even have a prayer of jumping over. needless to say, when i arrived at work my non-waterproof, albeit cute boots were soaked as were my socks and tights underneath.
the heaviest snowfall started around the time i was getting ready to leave work. i was dreading going outside. i needed to make the 15 min walk to my place to see if a package from mountain rose herbs had come and then immediately got on a bus to meet k and will at the music box to see the imaginarium of doctor parnassus. i should just add that this could be my new favorite movie of all time and really recommend all of you run out at once and see it. no seriously. back to the point, i was not looking forward to having wet feet the entire rest of the evening and was quite cranky at the thought.
the way i take home is a series of side streets running parallel to north ave and half way through the walk is a large courtyard and a church. by the time i reached that place i was already pleasantly surprised at the fact that i was indeed walking on light fluffy snow and not slush. my thin soled boots made quiet and gentle imprints in the snow that were quickly coved by a new coat leaving no trace that i had ever been that way.
standing in the courtyard the stillness hit me. normally busy and bussing streets of joggers and people walking their dogs and toddlers were empty. it was dusk and the tungsten lights had come on from the façade of the church and everything was still. thom yorke’s harrowdon hill came through on my ear buds. to be quite honest, i stood there in the middle of that courtyard motionless until the song finished and then i played it again. i experienced a stillness that is a rare pleasure for a city dweller.
what froze me dead in me tracks was the light on the snow. i know that photographers are always talking about the light but it is so true. i would have made that image just for the light but i was lacking a camera, which is, honestly, plain stupid. i don’t remember feeling such an urge to create an image in a long, long time and i was caught without the tools. a mistake that shall not be repeated and a good lesson.
there are no word for the image that laid before my eyes that evening. it brought me back to my first color photography class. i was hardcore into b&w and wanted nothing to do with color. boy, did color blow my mind. i learned to see light and color in ways that I feel most people don’t. c printing was some of the most enjoyable times of my life.
thinking about this now reminds me of a conversation i had with my father around the time I was starting to learn color. i had been explaining to him that colors were more vibrant and saturated under and overcast sky as opposed to direct sun. that would be the reason i would get up at five am to go shoot. this seemed counter intuitive to my dad and he stated that he didn’t know if he agreed with me.
at that moment it was noon and harsh light. i told my father to look at the grass and remember what it looked like. at about five that evening i told my father to look at the grass again. i saw his eyes light up like a child. my father saw a glimpse of what i see and feel a lot of people don’t notice about light. i was happy to open my dad’s eyes to something new and share that experience with him. in addition, i think i was eighteen or nineteen at the time, it was the first time i was able to prove my point in an argument like that with my father. it was the first time that i had more knowledge and understanding about what i was talking about then he did. i remember being very proud of myself on that day. not a selfish pride and not in an “i beat my dad” kind of way but had gained knowledge and experience within my field and could be looked to as a credible source.
in other news:
the other day i started feeling the beginnings of a cold starting to nip at my heels. immediately i craved miso soup. i know if that sounds strange but do have an explanation, i swear. my mother is a nurse and by nature an extremely nurturing person. i had a pretty weak immune system up until i became a vegan and spent most of my childhood sick. however, my mom would always let me have sushi when i was sick (once again before i was a vegan) and to this day, i crave miso soup whenever ill.
it’s no wonder. nori is seaweed and a super food. nori is rich in iodine and iron and quite high in protein. it is also a good source of vitamin c, vitamin a, potassium, magnesium and riboflavin (b2) amongst having other benefits as most algae’s do.
so i came home and made a huge pot!
in other other news: