Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Sunday, May 19

Gapers Block

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It isn't uncommon for the good people of Chicago to refer to Lake Michigan as if it were an acquaintance, a friend, a family member or even with the awed hushed tones reserved for a new lover. The lake is there and if nothing else, will almost certainly always be there, to the east.

Our weather patterns are affected by it, we plan entire days around it, we use it as a barometer, a confidant, a place to "get away from it all," as a touchstone to how we're feeling at the moment.

When I first saw the lake, from 16 floors up in a high rise in Edgewater, I was awed. I had never seen a body of water that could be called a lake that looked like it could be a sea. That first night all I could see was a dark horizon less than a block away, ominous. In the morning, when I got up before anybody else due to the jet lag, the lake had arisen with me, greeting me as I groggily rubbed my eyes awake to look out over its majesty.

I knew I was in love.

I've had a steady, solid relationship with the lake, never berating it for the lakefront chill that drops the temperature even further in the winter, never angry that it never gets as warm as a beach in South Asia will always be, never upset with it.

And in turn for this gentleness, the lake embraces me when I need it most. Whether in it, just looking or passing it by, it never scolds me, never pleads and never asks for more than I can give.

It's there, and I'm here, and there's plenty of Lake Michigan to go 'round. And that is her greatest gift, the ability to provide the good people of Chicago with a place to call their own.

- NH

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About the Author(s)

Photographers featured in this essay are: Archie Florcruz, Howard Wolinsky, Phineas X. Jones, David Schalliol, Audrey Nagelberg and Nazarin Hamid. They love the lake.

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