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Postcards from the Windy City - Looking Up


By Abby Stocker

Fri, Jun 14th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists



I’m not sure about you, but one of my favorite things about returning home from the city is looking up at the stars. Returning from college for a break or weekend trip, I run outside on the first clear night and stand, totally absorbed in that which is right above me, my neck craned back as I stare up and around. The stars seem transcendent somehow; whether you view them as a symbol of dreams to be achieved or simply as scientific phenomena in outer space, the stars are still distant, untouched by the trivialities of life on earth, and, in my opinion, beautiful in their seeming simplicity.

When I came home at the end of this past school year, I’d been gone for nearly two months since my last college break. I love that my college campus is somewhat set apart in the suburbs of St. Paul, but the abundant trees and close proximity to the city lights mean that I can’t often see the sky at night, at least not well. My first night home was clear, so when I stopped in the middle of our driveway to look up at the stars, I paused to pick out the three constellations I know, to breathe in the unseasonably cool air, to soak in the natural beauty just above my head.

I won’t be seeing those stars as much this summer. I’m venturing to Chicago to intern at a magazine, writing and editing. I’ll also be writing a column for the Fillmore County Journal, sending you “postcards” from different places in the Chicago area. Some will likely be places unlike anything in Fillmore County; others will be ordinary, everyday places, and I’ll explore what makes them similar to or different from those back home. Whether you’ve lived in the Chicago area or have never been, I hope you’ll enjoy these glimpses into the Windy City through the eyes of a college student-turned journalist.

This summer is my first time working for such a large publication, and I’m not entirely sure what to expect. But I’m also excited to see what adventures the summer will bring, and share them with all of you. Though I’ll miss home, I’ve decided to keep looking up.

Why do we talk about “looking up” as a positive thing, anyway? I like my stars back home. This summer, I’ll be looking at a sky that will be different in so many ways. Though the stars will still be here, a short train ride would take me to downtown Chicago, with tall skyscrapers hemming the sky in. Not being used to skyscrapers growing up, I would stand and stare upward, trying to imagine the view at the top of the Sears (now Willis) Tower. I’ll be amazed at the sheer size of the buildings, but they’ll impress me in a different way than the sky at home.

Both, though, bring a different perspective on my life on the ground and encourage me to take a moment to pause and take in my surroundings. Our world is busy, and taking the time to observe and breathe seems to me to be a good thing. A moment of rest can help keep your perspective positive, whether you’re at home or in a new place.

So take a moment to look up, both literally and metaphorically. Welcome to my place—both Fillmore County and Chicago—and enjoy the postcards along the way.

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