I woke up this morning with a profound and distinct craving for my little village in the North Shore of Illinois. Actually, it feels more like an ache than a craving. I am not sure where this came from. Perhaps because today is Friday and it is spring and that means it is Farmer’s Market day in Lake Bluff. That means that if I woke up in my North shore home, instead of our town home in Austin, I would be getting dressed and walking to the farmers market. I would marvel at the green trees and all the flowers that survived the harshness of winter in their earthen beds. I would look at the overpriced fruits and vegetables and I would taste a sample of cheese that I would not buy. I would laugh at the puny wimpiness of Michigan strawberries and compare them in my mind with SoCal berries of my childhood that were the size of apricots. I would see all the North shore women with their North shore babies and their Labradors and Golden Retrievers. I would stand behind two ladies who know each other from one of the many country clubs and they would be talking about their children and how well they were doing in school and what their summer plans are. I would buy a bouquet of spring flowers, as I did every week. I would wonder, as I waited for my arrangement to be constructed, how I got to live in a place with so much beauty. I would, as I always did, tell myself what a great place this is for kids. Every time I went out in Spring or Fall if I was with anyone I would say out loud, “I am so lucky to live here. It is so beautiful.” I said it like a prayer hoping it would protect me from ever having to leave.
After I got my flowers, I would walk to Bluffington’s cafe which would be buzzing with spring activity. I would get a decent cup of coffee and then I would walk my flowers home and leave them in my sink. I would stop for a moment to marvel at the beauty of my backyard and once again I would say to myself, ‘I am so lucky to live here.’
Then I would walk the few blocks to the lake and sit on a bench over viewing the lake. My seated meditation would be one of gratitude. I would sit and breath in the blue of Lake Michigan and marvel at its vastness. I would feel a peace and gratitude that I never felt in front of the Pacific. I would sit and contemplate the day and what it would hold for me and all the while, repeating the mantra, “this is my home; this is where I live. I am so lucky.” All the prayers, and the gratitude did not protect me. And, in retrospect, I feel that my profound awareness of my good fortune and my endless appreciation of the beauty of the Bluff was prescient.
As I am in Austin, and not Lake Bluff, this morning I will drink my coffee and eat my cereal and turn on the A/C and look out at the view from our patio. I will watch traffic go by and feel the heat on the patio door radiating into our temporary home. And, I will say a different kind of prayer.
Picture #1: Lake Bluff Park Gazebo from here.
Picture #2: Lake Bluff Farmers Market from here.
Picture #3: View from our dining room.
Picture #4: View of our back yard.
Picture #5: View of Lake Michigan from Lake Bluff from here.