Mornings on the Beach

I’ve been in Chicago about a week now, and I’ve got to spend most of that time relaxing and reading and exploring the city, as classes don’t start until September 5th. One of my favorite things that I’ve discovered so far is spending mornings at the Lake Michigan beach.

Our apartment here in Rogers Park is just a few blocks from the Leone Family Park Beach. I’m an early riser, and I can usually get over to the beach by about 7:30. It’s fairly empty at this time of morning, making for a quiet and serene walk.

Here’s my shocking confession for the week: I’ve never been to, or even seen, the ocean. I’ve lived a land-locked 29 years, so Lake Michigan is by far the largest body of water I’ve ever seen. My first visit to our local beach last week was the first time I’ve ever stood on a sandy beach.

I’ve never felt this to be much of a loss; I am a mountains and forests kind of person. I don’t swim; for outdoor adventure, I’ve always much preferred hiking and trails and climbing to water sports. 

That said, I’ve been quite taken with the lake and the beach here. There is a rhythmic beauty and peace there that is something completely new to me. My morning walks in the sand are one of the highlights of my time so far in Chicago. It’s a good time to reflect and think and be at peace. And walking out a bit into the surf, even if it’s cold, is invigorating and thrilling.

(I’ve also found it’s a good opportunity for big, wet dog cuddles. Lots and lots of dog owners like walking the beach in the mornings, and the pups are always looking for free pats and scratches.)

I’ll always be a mountain person. But I’m learning to appreciate the water as well.

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