Tag Archives: Highland Park

Busted!

Finally. They got me. Not in the middle of the night as I often expected. But at the beach. In broad daylight. 4:06PM precisely. Guilty I am. Parking! Parking While Street Legal. It’s not a thing. I Googled it. Nevertheless, I’ve been specially selected to enjoy a $75 Penalty for Park District (of Highland Park) Parking Violation. My city sticker? Proudly displayed. Did I Park Like a Dick? Not hardly. Perfectly centered between the lines. I’ve been caught in the net of that scourge of mankind, law abiders. Singled out for my initial opposition to the Rosewood Beach improvements. Mocked for driving a 12 year old minivan. Ridiculed for daring to hit the beach on a weekday afternoon. It’s a pattern. They’re after me. I will resist. #MAGA

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A Day at the Beach

I have the good fortune to live in a community on the shores of Lake Michigan. To many not familiar with the Great Lakes, a lake is a large puddle in which to sink a line, test your sailing skills or skim the water on skis behind a fast boat. But Lake Michigan, like all five of the Great Lakes is really an inland sea of freshwater. In fact, the largest body of fresh water on the planet. And I live next to it.

Now, don’t get me wrong. My fortune is good enough to enjoy this lake proximity. But not good enough to stare out my window and listen to the waves. I live about 2 miles from the lake, a short bike ride if I were so inclined. But the lazy truth is I drive to the beach carting enough beach paraphernalia that would make a bike ride a shlep. And the prospect of pedaling home with the same crap wearing my wet bathing suit with sand chafing in my, well, you get the idea. So I drive to the beach.

Where I live, the lake sits below bluffs of 150 to 200 feet, part of the lake border moraines formed about 14,000 years ago. Although I could park in a lot at lake level, I choose to leave my car in the parking lot of the municipal park on the bluff and walk down the 88 magnificently crafted stone steps, part of an original design by famous landscape architect Jens Jensen. The bluff is alive and shifts a bit from season to season creating all manner of havoc with the stone step structure. Our park district (the parks & recreation department to those of you outside of Illinois) does a courageous job of maintaining the integrity of these steps. I feel it is my obligation to walk them in appreciation.

On the bluff, even on the hottest days of which today is one, there is usually a breeze which makes one forget about air conditioning. Looking seaward, or lake-ward, one can eye an occasional passing freighter, but more often than not it is just azure blue dotted by various flavors of pleasure craft. And down below come the sounds of people frolicking in the almost comfortable 70 degree water. The smell of grilled-something rises from the picknickers. It is heavenly.

I grab my gear and descend the historic steps embedded into the ancient bluff. Choosing my location – sun or no sun – I set up shop. I may listen to the Cub game often timing my sunbathing to the ½ innings – front, back, shade. Or I may study one section of the NY Times. The beach helps me keep perspective on the miserable fortunes of my baseball team or of the desperate state of our world presented by the NYT. Down here, the breeze is muted and in time I get sufficiently toasty. Then there is only one thing to do. Go for a swim.

Rosewood Beach Highland Park on July 4, 2011

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