Cricket chirps aided by the occasional bass of a bullfrog — not sirens with the horn of a fire truck — are the sounds I’m used to at night.
Having lived in the country most of my life, trips to large cities provide pleasure pricked occasionally by little pains.
Fire trucks that race by the window of my bed-and-breakfast about three times a night inflict one of the pains.
With that many fires, why hasn’t all of Chicago burned?
How does anybody get a night’s sleep is a city that’s always awake?
One of the things I like about the city is that I walk more. That seems slightly odd; but in the country most things I need to go out for are miles away, so I travel by car.
In big cities, lots of things are in walking distance. Restaurants, bakeries and a variety of stores — one of which probably sells the needed item — wait within a few blocks.
Just as invigorating as the walk are the people passed. Many of them wouldn’t blend into a small town, but find acceptance in the city.
A walk to a train station leads to cross-city routes where the rocking cars offer further opportunities for people watching.
Today a young woman in a wedding dress sits demurely on a hard seat, her eyes sparkling like the diamond on her left hand.
Bridesmaids sit in available seats nearby. One reaches to fix something on the bride’s dress. They share a smile of long friendship.
As I exit at Wrigley Field, they remain behind closing doors and speed away to a church somewhere.
I become part of a herd following a concrete trail to a ballgame of a magnitude I wouldn’t find at home.
I don’t know if recreation in the city is more varied than what we can invent in the country, but it’s certainly more organized.
Later I walk with my wife, my son and my daughter we’ve come to visit. We pass a small, peaceful park that looks a little like my yard.
A cab driver stiff arms his horn because a car hasn’t moved quickly enough.
A few blocks later we find a spot that could almost be Louisiana except that it’s the bank of Lake Michigan not Lake Maurepas.
We sit at a table overlooking the pink and blue horizon and share a pitcher of sangria. We smile at the Cajun chicken menu item, but choose local fare.
Afterward we stroll along the water, content to be a family together, even if it’s just for a little while longer.
We pass a playground. Children sounds echo against buildings and bounce into the approaching night.
At my daughter’s apartment we pull out a Scrabble board as if we were at home.
Conversation flows as the tiles click.
The sounds of the city seem muted or maybe I’ve just grown accustomed to them.