Thanks for the sunrises, COVID-19

Anyone can love a beach in the summer.

Deep winter is my favorite beach time, and this winter, while I was forced to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, I loved it best at dawn.

Instead of packing my lunch and catching a train to work, I left my apartment in the dark and walked east.

As soon as I turned towards the lake, I was drawn in by the glow—maybe pink, or apricot, or golden, or sometimes just a haze on the dawning horizon. In ten minutes time, I could be at the edge of the beach and touch the water, but of course, in the height of winter, there’s ice meeting the sand, not water.

This winter ice is dramatic; swirling, churning, floating in pancakes. Volcanoes of ice erupting steam. And the rising sun enhances the drama.

On a hazy morning, the floating ice chunks lit by the rising sun could be a Monet painting (if Monet painted Lake Michigan).

I am not the only one who loves the beach in the winter.

There’s a couple that dances in pagan ritual for the rising sun.

And a woman who beats a drum to accompany the sunrise.

There are dog walkers and joggers and photographers with expensive gear.

If you live in Chicago, you know there’s a microclimate on the lakefront.

If Chicago is cold, the lakefront is bitter. The wind slices your face. When I pulled off my gloves for a few seconds to take these photos, my fingers froze.

This lakefront winter—all I can say is I needed it.

I would watch the seagulls with their improbably thin legs facing into the strong wind. They face into it, I’d tell myself.

Overwhelmed, at times, with fear, sadness, and loneliness that was close to abandonment, I needed something to achieve that wasn’t sitting alone in my apartment every day, being unproductive. Facing into the wind, towards the rising sun, this felt like survival.

One of my coworkers said she kept a gratitude journal during the shutdown. She’s a better person than me—I don’t feel grateful. I want all the people who died from Covid to be alive, I want the sick people well, I want our jobs back and for the kids to be back in school. I hate the devastation to the arts community brought on by this year of closed museums, theaters, and performing arts centers. I see my neighbors lined up around the block for the food pantry, and I hate it. I want my missing year back.

A year ago everything shut down. I stayed home for most of it, but now I’ve starting working onsite again. Chicago is still cold, but the ice has melted. I take the bus to work and I leave the house too late to watch the sunrise. I miss it.

I’m not starting a gratitude journal, because screw you, COVID-19. But thanks, I guess, for the sunrises.

25 comments

  1. What can one say? More sunrises to you.
    I see that cases in Chicago are still as high as in mid-July!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wishing you the same, thank you.

      Actually, Chicago having July numbers is “good” news. Did you see the terrifying spike we had this winter. Officially 1 in 11 people have had Covid here, though surely the actual number is higher, since at the beginning people were sick but couldn’t get tested.

      Wish we had handled the pandemic as well as India.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We have July numbers too, but the slope is upwards, not down, as you are in.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Amy Sharp · · Reply

    Thank you. Missing you all in Chicago. I miss the lake too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Amy–we miss you in Chicago too. I think you live by the ocean now, yes?

      Like

  3. These are stunning photographs….especially your Monet!
    I suppose it is good to be able to go back to work on site, but isn’t there a sort of build up of resentment that still has to blow?
    We are so lucky to have been here, where after the first lockdown, which was a disaster for small shops, things have generally been relaxed..and, personally, we are lucky to be long retired, so accustomed to a home based rythm. The thing that has hit us hard us not being able to have gatherings of friends at the house…somewhat dull just cooking for two!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!

      You have it just right—lots of us have an intense build up of resentment, and each of us has a different reason. Mine is that no matter how responsible I am and my colleagues are, and the sacrifices we’ve made, the irresponsible jerks keep reversing our progress and putting us at risk.

      I’m glad you are in a more relaxed place. I miss my mom’s cooking the most!

      Like

  4. Covid-19 is a downer, but the upside during lockdown is to have uplifting images like these being put up, so thank you. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you—I’m hoping you have had your vaccination and can be a little less locked down. Who knows when we can get ours…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We’re in our 70s, and in a Wales which is committed to have the old and vulnerable vaccinated as a priority, so due to have our second jab this week, only six weeks after our first. There has been some easing of lockdown here but it’s minimal, so I’m appalled at the numbers of maskless demonstrators who have turned out in cities demanding their freedom to catch and pass on the virus. I’m so sorry you haven’t had it easy, but we all know who’s to blame for delays in dealing with the pandemic, don’t we, for which you and so many have to cope with catching-up operation.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hooray for your second jab! Oh yes, I do know who is to blame for the delays and the shameful misinformation campaign.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Just stunning photography. Thank you for sharing all of this.

    Like

    1. Thanks for your kindness, Wendy. I hope the Clay Estate is doing alright—this is such a tough time for museums.

      Like

  6. Wonderful. There is beauty in pain sometimes if you look hard enough.
    Lovely photos.

    Like

    1. Thank you Guy, I hope you are getting though this alright.

      Like

      1. I’m good thanks, although February was the hardest time in retrospect. It’s a year today since I started working from home so it’s been strange. Initially exciting and now I miss my colleagues and seeing people in the office. We are both able to work from home and have no children to homeschool and have a nice garden so we are in a very lucky position, but I miss seeing my friends and the variety of experience of life before lockdown. How are you guys? At least you have a new president who is taking it seriously.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sorry you had a tough February. It was worse for me in December with the short days. I enjoy my own company and spending some time at home, but that is not the same as house arrest. Yes, the new president is a huge relief!

        Like

  7. Beautiful pictures.

    Love the verbal image of the ice meeting the sand.

    I know that bracing cold wind that reminds you, that you’re alive.

    No gratitude journal here either. More like a rhyming litany of complaints, vacillating between politics and COVID. 😊

    So sorry your work schedule interferes with these precious life-affirming moments. Glad you’re finding time to cheer us with your writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The thought that occurred to me the other day was that at least since Covid began,there were fewer active shooter situations So much for that theory.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahhhh,,,,no. Down in the schools, though.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you!

      Don’t worry—I’d rather be working onsite than sitting on my couch alone all day, even if it means missing the sunrises.

      None of that ice and wind where you’re at!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Excellent series. I live on the other side of The Lake. That distant cloud bank you see when you look east in the winter? I live under it in constant gray. Our best friend lives right on The Lake, ok..4 apartments back, but you can lay in bed and see her, in the Roger’s Park neighborhood.

    Winter is excellent but I frostbit the left side of my face shooting ice formations over on my side of Michigan. Still..all the freaking tourists are gone then and The Lake is left to those of us who truly love her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Ha ha, I have the half frostbite too. Your friend is lucky indeed!

      Liked by 1 person

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