Off the grid

Off the grid (Chicago), © 2014 Celia Her City

Chicago and the North Shore seen from over Lake Michigan

Our return flight to Chicago from Seattle was long and rocky.

Our plane sported a mechanical problem just after we pulled away from the gate.  “The mechanics say they’ve never seen anything like this,” the captain announced.  Back at the gate, we eventually deplaned.  Many hours later, the plane, still broken, was towed away.  Seventeen of us left from the once-full flight waited for an available aircraft to arrive.  By the time we left, it was getting on toward 10 p.m. Chicago time.

A turbulent flight.  Sitting in the dark beside my sleeping husband, I tried to watch Ben Stiller in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty but gave up when a drunken pilot and he set out on a comically doomed helicopter ride.  Oh, why fly?

Shortly before 1 a.m., we finally began our descent into O’Hare.  It was good to see the lights on the ground, which form themselves into all sorts of beautiful constellations on the approach to the city.

On the edge of Chicagoland, © 2014 Celia Her City
Flying over many miles of organically shaped rainbow clusters (representing the suburbs), at last we reached the Chicago city limits.  At the edge of the yellow light grid, the city begins.

We flew from the western suburbs all the way to the east, overshooting the city.  Out over Lake Michigan (see the top picture), the grid became void.  We were just northeast of Evanston.  I could see the northern boundary of the city and the suburbs, with the campus of Northwestern jutting into the Lake below me.

Evanston aerial, © 2014 Celia Her City
As the plane banked, I could even see the cemetery located above Rogers Park, where Sheridan Road curves around and heads into Evanston toward the northern suburbs.  The university became a bright blob at the top right of the frame.

Shadowy exchange, © 2014 Celia Her City
As we neared the airport, I had a clear view of this shadowy exchange that, during waking hours, typically swarms with cars.  The banal world we occupy looked beautifully strange.  I’ve never seen an artsier looking highway in all my days.

At last, with the aid of some magic, we found ourselves on the ground at about 1:30.  I tucked away my camera and gathered my things.

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