The wind may as well be a bath of ice; the ice may as well be a slip-n-slide; but the pale sun is so unencumbered and fierce, like a little bird soaring and singing at once, that I can’t be sorry I came outside. I love being able to see my breath. I love how the air crackles. I love how the el tracks–newly renovated, of course, in the only-just lapsed construction season–shudder and pass the train along to my platform.

I love Chicago.

I am not typically up before the last moment I need to be; I have no worms to get and thus no qualms about not being the early bird. This morning, however, my gorgeous cousin and her amazing husband, who had stayed over in the city for their anniversary, invited me to breakfast and it would take an act of God to get me to say no. Yolk? Yes please. Cousin time? An even bigger affirmative.

On the way down at 7:30 a.m. I got a good look at the city. The el is great for that. Chicago is stunning in every season but perhaps most in winter, when the air is clearest and a cold, frosty sheen makes everything glow.

I’m trying to cultivate a more positive outlook. I fight my violent mood swings by telling myself it’s chemical. It isn’t me. I don’t actually mean to feel that way. This morning, it hit me hard that if I can appreciate moments like these–if I can use the same method to really look at something and mark for myself how wonderful it is, I have already made a change. I know that sounds cheesy and mostly like self-help rhetoric, but I don’t know how to say it another way: Taking a moment to savour something beautiful makes you more aware of other beautiful things. I had a great morning with people I really love and I actively enjoyed getting there, being there, and coming back. I can’t even be upset by what’s in my bank account, or how messy my apartment is because I’m in a different place today.

This isn’t necessarily a new idea to me, but it might be the first time I’ve understood it. It’s simple and…just kind of nice. I don’t need to make a grand sweeping gesture or move across the country for things to be different. I mean, maybe I will do those things eventually. But now? I’m okay. Baby steps.

I took dis...not this morning, obviously.
I took dis…not this morning, obviously.