The walk from the train station to my office was the prettiest one I’ve experienced yet. The low sun was sliding its light between the buildings making otherwise white faces red. As I crossed on metal bridges over the river, dozens of seagulls hovered overhead and pigeons pecked multicolored on the sidewalk. And the day was new enough for me to forget that these flying things are considered dirty and to remember them as birds.

I got hot under my jacket from so much walking. And the wind from over the lake kicked coolly down east-bound streets. Ball-blazing sun came up behind Navy Pier, silhouetting the Ferris Wheel and making the greens look really green as they thrashed about.

This unsettles me. All the time, all over the place, I see things that are unresolvably beautiful. And at the same time, I walk up the fancy part of Michigan Avenue called the “Magnificent Mile” with the expensive stores and restaurants. A person-sized light up sign, like the kind you see in malls, says “Happiness comes with a handle” showing grape-bunches of shopping bags. And I walk up that street early enough to see these men, primarily Latinos, taking to the sidewalks with power washers and leaf blowers.

Visitors say of Chicago: the city looks so clean.

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