What Yonder Sea Is This?

Recently, on some beautiful Saturday in July, I woke up longing for the ocean. Not so much in the “I wish I was on vacation” way that sometimes crosses your mind, but more of an “I miss my good friend, the ocean” way. To let the sound of the waves flow in and out until only the good thoughts were left washed up on the beach in my head…that sounded like the perfect weekend day.

As most of you may know, Chicago is safely landlocked in the center of the US. That is to say that it is half a continent away from any ocean in any direction. The great lakes, however, are one of the saving graces of the midwest, and Chicago boasts of some of the loveliest coastline that Lake Michigan has to offer. Not wanting to let my lack of an ocean ruin my day, I headed north to find a tourist-less spot where I could enjoy a lakeside breeze and maybe at least hear the soft lap of lake waves.

And this is the part of the story where I tell you that you just never know what wonders may be around the corner.

The beach wasn’t visible from the road, but the lake was and I felt like stopping. I decided to turn into a little lot next to a small playground and park. As I walked over the short hill towards the beach, the sounds of kids playing in the park seemed to melt away with the breeze…and that was when I saw it. It nearly took my breath away.

Stormy weather had churned up the lake (rip tides were even being reported!) and in rolled wave after wave after wave. As I sat there listening to that lovely ocean sound on my own secluded little beach, this little enclave with waters as clear blue as the sea, I couldn’t quite tell where I was.

For those hours, I could have been anywhere – Cote d’azur, Havana, Newport Beach. And really, what did it matter? Those places can be saved for a long vacation. That day, that blissfully peaceful and simple day, I was looking for the sounds of the sea.

If you go looking for it…you just might find that paradise, or whatever it is you may be seeking, is right up the street.

Caribbean escape or one of the hidden treasures of Chicago?

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