I love summer in Illinois. I am not talking about just summer in Chicago, filled with all these amazing events and activities: music festivals, parades, markets, Crown Fountain, icecream at the River Walk, and the fireworks on the Navy Pier. Chicago summer is fantastic, but I also love Illinois summer away from the city.
I love that it is hot. Yes, I know that many people hate the Midwest summer for being hot and humid. But I love it. Maybe, that’s because, since my early childhood, hot weather was a luxury. Something we didn’t get at home. You had to travel to The South. The South was almost as appealing as “zagranitza” (see related post).
In any case, I love it when the outside temperature is in the lower 80’s. My picture of the perfect summer is the following. It’s warm enough that I can wear shorts and a sleeveless top. I am on my deck, or rather on the wooden steps of my deck, I am barefoot, and my soles feel the warmth of the wood. The mourning doves are mourning; I hear their uuu! uuu! The sun is not setting down yet, but it starts to go down, My back is feeling the door of my kitchen. It’s never extremely hot on my deck because the sun never touches it directly. And it’s that moment when I sit there and do nothing. No audiobook in my ears. No looking at my phone. Nothing, but the sun which starts to descent, and the mourning of the doves …
Every year, the first day I can sit like this marks the arrival of summer. This year, it was so cold for so long that I could not even believe that this day will come, even a week ago.
And now, for the fourth day in a row, we have a perfect summer. Each day of the long weekend was a gift!
Here are some pictures of want I was doing on Sunday.
Every year we hope that the weather will be nice on Memorial Day weekend and that what is considered the official start of summer will bring the summer weather.
Unfortunately, more often than not, that’s not the case. Either it is raining, or it is below 70 F or both, but most often, the weather is not good for swimming on the day when pools are official open. This time, it was the opposite. The pools are not open, but the weather exceeds expectations! I decided to take upon the advice of the health authorities and spend most of this weekend outdoors. And also, doing some good things for myself.
There was a heavy thunderstorm through the whole night and morning; and when it was finally over, I decided to take a short walk – just to get a breath of fresh air. And I met not one, but six deers less than ten minutes walk away from my house!
There are eight pictures in this instagram post – click on the side arrows to scroll.
Last weekend, Saturday was as bad as it could be – rain all day without stopping. The forecast for Sunday, however, was gorgeous, and I thought that I might try to take mom to the forest preserve. Mom is holding up very well, but it’s not so easy for her. I am not taking her anywhere, even to the grocery store; she does not get a chance to meet my friends anymore. I thought that I might at least let her see some beautiful sights.
The week before that, the forest preserve was so crowded on Sunday, that I was afraid that it would be closed. But that Sunday morning, when I was biking, I barely saw any people. I told mom that we are going to try. She asked: you think it’s safe? I told her: I will drive you there and we will see. If there will be too many people for my comfort, we are turning around and driving back.
Last Sunday, I went to the Forest Preserve to check my area and just to be there. My friend told me that the parking closest to my house was full in the morning. I had some hope that things will be better in the afternoon, but they weren’t. I turned around and drove to the main parking lot.
It busy as well, but at least there is more space there, so I found a place to park, it just took me longer to walk to my area. There were lots of people walking, running, and biking. Most of the visitors were trying hard to follow the social distancing guidelines, but it was very difficult! I am not ruling out the possibility that these people thought that I have some authority since I was wearing the forest preserve monitor vest :). There was a police car by the entrance, and I was thinking – what if the Cook County officials would decide to close the Forest Preserve after seeing such a crowd?! So far, they didn’t, and I hope that people will continue to try their best.
When I talked to my daughter, she told me that there are cities that opted to close some streets for traffic, to allow more room for people to walk observing the distance. She mentioned that Madison is considering similar measures. I think it would be great if something like that would happen in Chicago – I feel for people who can’t be outside safely!
This weekend was very busy, almost like “before the war.” I am going to write about all the things which I did, because it’s important for me to feel that life can be filled with activities even under the circumstances. The good thing about being a weed scout is that although this is a volunteering activity, you can do it solo, and you have to go deep into the woods. I can’t even describe how grateful I am for this opportunity to do something positive.
So, Anne, consider this to be my first report of the season: I went to check my spring area yesterday, and there is no vegetation yet! It’s not even funny – I even looked under the oak leaves :).
I used my last year parking permit, as instructed, and I put on my Forest Preserve monitor vest, and I had my ID with me. To be honest, I got the impression that people who were walking on the path worried that I might ask them what in the world they are doing there:)
I was talking tons of fall foliage pictures in Helsinki because this time of the year, the colors in Finland are already breathtakingly beautiful. And if didn’t even start in Illinois :).
Boris’ apartment is right by the Sibelius park, which means any time you get outside, there is plenty to marvel, and tons of pictures are just asking to be taken.
I was taking this picture (the sun was setting slowly and shining through the yellow leaves) when I saw a car on the opposite side of the road slowing down, just like the passerby would slow down when they see you taking pictures on the street.
I could not believe this slowing down was related to me :). After all, it was the opposite side of the street. May be they slow down for the red light ahead? But then… the car made a U-turn and slowed down, almost stopped, right in front of me. I saw a guy on the back seat looking out from the rolled down window, holding the camera! And he was taking a picture of this tree! After he was finished, the car drove away.
Maybe you won’t find it funny, but we laughed for another good twenty minutes, recalling the incident.
As I’ve mentioned, there was a lot of biking this time in Helsinki. The last two days were too cold for biking without gloves, and I did not have any biking gloves with me. But that’s the beauty of having your bike – when I could bike, I did.
I can’t even start to describe how everything in Helsinki as suited for bikers. The house has bike storage, where bikes can be stored not only standing, but also elevated.