Category Archives: Photos

Where the Forest Meets the Lake Meets the Sea

It took less than two hours from the time I touched down at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport to the time we were packed and in the car, headed down the coast to Lake Conjola. I shook off the Chicago winter, popped on my thongs/flip-flops and threw myself into the southern hemisphere summer. IMG_1994A IMG_1997A It’s a part of the world where the forest meets the lake meets the sea. You can see how much the trees have grown since I last took a photo from the above spot, too. Another reminder that time has moved on here whilst I’ve been gone. IMG_2001A IMG_2003 When you find yourself in sunshine this bright, it makes the past — and the present — feel like a dream. Was I ever in Chicago? Was it a regular -12C only a day or two ago?  Now my legs are being whipped by a refreshing southerly. I emerge from the cool blue waters of the Tasman Sea refreshed, reenergised.

For me, homesickness can only be cured by a trip back. And a big part of returning is soaking up the colours that I only seem to be able to find in Australia: the infinite blue skies, the spectrum of greens in the flora, the pinky tinge to the Sydney sunlight, the blues-greens-and-inbetweens of the ocean. These colours, this salty air and Mediterranean food recharges my spirit.  IMG_1998A IMG_2004AIMG_2002a

It’s great to be back.

At the Edge of the World: Navy Pier, Chicago

Chicago’s Navy Pier is a happening place in summer. Warm summer breezes straight off Lake Michigan, ice cream stands, Ferris wheel rides. But for me, there’s something so beautiful and haunting about visiting places that define summer near-abandoned in the winter time. 

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We took a jaunt down the road to Navy Pier the other day, in the midst of a snowstorm. Minus 12C. There were a handful of people around, but very quickly they dispersed and we spent our time almost alone as we wandered around the concourse. It was eerily quiet.

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The ice cream stands had closed before the first snow all those months ago. No one was sitting outside in the sun, sipping margaritas. It was grey, isolated, frozen. Lake Michigan, at the mouth of the Chicago River was completely solid, the river cruise boats tied up to the docks until it thaws out and the crowds return. And to me, it felt like the edge of the world.

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Photo Friday: Oz Park Tennis Courts

When we first moved to Chicago in the summer, we pretty much played tennis every day at Oz Park. We played through what I thought was the cold, until it was only a few degrees above OC. We stopped with the first snow.

This week, I took a wander down to Oz Park to see what the park looks like buried under a foot and a half of snow. Most of the walkways hadn’t been ploughed, but most of us could remember where the paths were.

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The nets are still up, stoically weathering the long, white winter and the unforgiving winds that blow in off Lake Michigan. But the nets no longer sway in the breeze. They’re held down by the untainted, accumulated snow. Frozen in place.

Eventually, the temperatures will rise and sun will reemerge and warm the surface. The courts will awaken from their hibernation, and once again feel the fuzz of new tennis balls and the squeak of sneakers.

I see these courts, these nets as reminders not to forget. Summer will come again. Just hold tight.

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A Very Visual Christmas

At the crack of sparrows on Christmas morning, we were up, showered and breakfasted for our early journey to the northern Chicago suburbs early to celebrate with the American’s family.

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After sledding, we returned back to the house to warm up, take a closer look at the Christmas pressies and set about making Christmas cards for the people we’d be enjoying Christmas dinner with in Oak Park.

We headed over to Oak Park and enjoyed cheese, iced tea and good conversation by an open fire. I bonded with their black lab called Pilot, playing fetch with him out in the snow until I couldn’t feel my hand.

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Aaaaand then I promptly forgot my backpack there that contained my wallet and house keys. So aside from the frantic ending (and $25 to have the building manager unlock our apartment door), it was a good day.

The Forlorn Cantina

The trail is closed.
Lake Michigan has frozen over.
The city sits a few miles down the road, outlines of big boxes mostly obscured by the grey and the snow. But the forlorn looking Cactus Cantina reminds me that it doesn’t always look like this. Warmer days were once here. And they will come again. It whispers to me: remember, remember.

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Life, Currently.

Winter is in full swing here in Chicago. And now there’s no denying it.

A short burst of snow yesterday gave us between 1 and 3 inches of snow, tonight we have a cold snap blowing in straight from the Arctic, with the first big snowstorm expected on Thursday and Friday. Here’s what it life currently looks like here: -8C with a real feel of -19C.

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