We were promised an honest-to-god snowstorm to usher in this Chicago winter.
And in the beginning, it looked like it might happen. My sister and I had plans for a lady date; we met for a glass at Mark's new wine bar and snacked on a beautiful cheese board.
We walked out of Appellation onto a bustling Clark Street, as flurries were just beginning to form. Suddenly, there was snow — and I was 6 years old again: I jumped up and down on the sidewalk, yelping with joy at the prospect of a fleetingly perfect blanket of white. I didn't care who noticed.
We dusted off Harry Connick Jr.'s Christmas album, singing along to "Sleigh Ride" with huge, giddy grins on our faces, doing the same dances in our side-by-side car seats we do every year. Innocence in familiarity.
We stood outside the car on a quiet side street, not more than a yard apart, trying to capture our first-glimpse-of-winter glee, catching snowflakes on our tongues. My jeans were wet to mid-shin within a half-block.
I didn't care.
Silhouettes of snowflakes drifted past the basement windows of Architectural Artifacts as we shopped around our first holiday gift market. We sipped dark, bitter beer and touched everything on display; I bought a stack of white-frosted gingerbread men packed in cellophane, and gifts for my father and sister-in-law.
I looked back wistfully at a thousand treats I could have bought for myself.
The drive home was lit in creamsicle fluorescent hues. Heavy, wet, Hollywood-potato flakes clung to branches that haven't yet shed their leaves. When I parked, one was so heavy it sagged toward the ground, blocking our street.
I plunged into a heavy sleep last night with dreams of waking up to giant white drifts across the alley.
But the clouds today can't choose between soaking rain and fat snowflakes, creating a mix that's sending neighbors running from door to door. Galoshes versus snow boots. Umbrellas versus knit beanies. Red leaves versus white flakes. Fall versus winter. Heavy gloom versus…beautiful weightlessness.
I woke up with a yearning for coffee, brewed in the red pot that's taken up permanent residence on the counter after months in the recesses of a cupboard. I brewed a pot — with beans from a shop in Savannah, where we spent last weekend in just our shirtsleeves — and poured the first of my three cups into my favorite earthenware mug.
Mark and I ate a huge breakfast, watching Mother Nature's indecision from our apartment's radiator warmth. I am somehow at peace for the first time in weeks, listening to Adele's "25" on repeat, and wanting to write until my fingers are numb.
But just as I find my groove and the mix outside finally decides to turn to cascading white sheets, it's time to venture out into our Chicago snow globe and see what awaits us in the world. So l'll close my eyes for a moment, listen to the hum of my laptop and the rumble of the Brown Line just outside…and pray I can summon this stillness again when life offers another opportunity to enjoy it.