Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Commuters: Of Men and Mosquitoes

The telephoto view from Darci's deck - including the Sears Tower, now called the Willis Tower
I spent the weekend in Chicago, visiting my sister, Darci. My other sister, Lisa, was my unofficial travel agent, booking the tickets and making the arrangements for me and her youngest daughter, Abby. (More snapshots from our trip to come tomorrow.)

On Monday morning, Darci flew out of O'Hare at 7:10 for work. A little while later, we three Kansans walked several blocks away to the Blue Line, dragging our suitcases behind us. As we tried to figure out how to purchase train tickets to O'Hare, we heard the transit workers warning: "The trains are very crowded today. Expect crowded platforms and long waits."

When we got to the top of the stairs, there was a sea of people stretched on the other side of the platform. Thankfully, they were all going toward the city, and we were going the opposite direction toward O'Hare.
We watched as a train pulled to a stop. Through the windows, as the train slowed, we could see people squished together. Standing and sitting, shoulder to shoulder, we wondered how anyone else could squeeze in.
As the first train departed and our airport-bound train arrived, we saw that most of the people on the other side were still waiting.
Then, as our Blue Line train zoomed its way down the elevated tracks toward O'Hare, we saw highways that seemed more like parking lots than expressways as they, too, were clogged with commuter traffic. I said a prayer, thankful for my little spot on Planet Earth where there aren't a couple million people.
But you know what? There are a couple million mosquitoes. And I think they're all in my neighborhood. Yesterday morning, I went outside a little after 6 o'clock to celebrate being home and to watch the sunrise in solitude.  I took three photos before I leaped back into the car so I wouldn't get eaten alive by mosquitoes. None of the photos will win any awards. The sky was pretty enough, I suppose, but I was too busy slapping mosquitoes to really see it.
And Monday night, there was a broken baler when Randy was ready to bale more hay than we've had in several years.(It's since been fixed, and he's back on the tractor this morning.)

We all have our challenges, whether our skyscrapers are like this ...
... or on the plains of Kansas.
And we can find beauty whether it's planted in narrow townhouse gardens ...
... or in fields of hundreds of acres.
There are challenges and joys no matter your zip code.


  1. Yay for sister time, Kim! Glad you enjoyed your chance to get away.

    It was neat to see the difference between home and Iowa. Iowa is so wet and green. The corn is behind where it normally is due to all the rain and mud. There is no doubt that South Dakota is "short grass" country.

    Last night, more rain on the prairie.

    1. We haven't had any mosquitoes for a couple of summers. I shouldn't complain because the mosquitoes mean that we have had some moisture this spring. It is so nice to see some green. As I took Randy to a pickup yesterday afternoon, it was great to see numerous bales in the field, instead of the sparsity caused by drought. The drought isn't busted, by any means, but conditions are better here. That's not the case in Western Kansas, which desperately needs rain. I'm glad you got some more rain!

  2. The mosquitoes are definitely nasty. Terry & I "donated" quite a bit of blood on our walk Saturday, but wised up & used chemical warfare the rest of the time. We should have known better since we have mosquitoes nearly year round in Houston.

    1. They seemed especially bad out here in the boonies where nobody sprays (except us from a little can!) They seem a little bit better here later in the week. Maybe the hot temperatures have weeded them out a bit. Sorry I missed you when you were in Stafford. Hopefully, next time!

  3. I used to live in Florida, aka home to the second highest number of species of mosquitoes in the country, so I feel your pain. We started using something called sector mosquito spray just so we could enjoy our own backyard in the summer.