Those awkward body movements one makes when carrying luggage. I was making those.
Joshua and I were returning from a quick little trip to Michigan for the weekend and when we emerged from the train tunnel into the open light of downtown Chicago, we were smacked in the face by blowing winds and a thousand falling snowflakes. Late March and it's snowing hard.
Because I packed for this trip spontaneously and at 2:30am, I'm wearing canvas sneakers and cotton socks on my feet. On top I'm wearing all the shirts and sweaters I could find in my bag, with my slanket (that's my giant scarf/blanket) draped and wrapped and generally adding to my bag lady look.
And we are hustling and slushing through downtown with those awkward body movements one makes when carrying hand luggage, trying to get to our bus before the snow soaks through our clothes. And I'm freezing. But it's Chicago, and it's downtown, and it's snowing big fat flakes and in spite of myself I see that it's beautiful and that I'm privileged to get to stand in icy wind in the Theater District and take in the postcard of it all.
We find our bus and continue our journey toward home, the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago, nestled into the far north side of the city, next to Lake Michigan. For an hour we trek up Clark Street, passing sites that have become landmarks of our lives in this city: my sweetheart, the Poetry Foundation; our favorite cupcake place (Molly's!); the quirky theater where we went on our last anniversary (Public House Theatre); M. Henry, our favorite brunch spot; our old gym, our new gym, my old dance studio...
The back doors of the bus open and I stretch my short legs long to reach the sidewalk, and I slip, slide, and fall awkwardly, still with the luggage. Exceptionally covered in snow now, I remember why I invested in the high-quality, well-insulated snow boots with rugged traction that are sitting dry in my closet.
The most treacherous obstacles for any pedestrian on a day like today are the moats of icy slush and filthy street water that separate the sidewalks from the roads, moats which must be crossed to cross the street. We must overcome four of these murky, freezing waterways to get to our block and we carefully maneuver in such a way that our shoes and socks are completely soaked.
Joshua starts jogging for home, his backpack bouncing, yellow suitcase swinging with his arm. So close to home it's okay that our feet are frozen and our bags are jostling us and we slide across the sidewalk, giggling. He looks back at me with love and joviality in his eyes, snow still floating heavily down, and I laugh the louder at the postcard of it all.
We make it home. We squeak our slushy sneakers through the doorway and set down the awkward baggage.
The next hour is for me an hour of perfect sensory delights. I discard my soggy and snowflaked layers. I doze off in a warm bath. I wake up to fragrant Indian food. We eat on the couch, sitting close, listening to the Sleeping At Last vinyl sing through the stereo. I very slowly eat four chocolate cookies that have just come out of the oven. We nap, sandwiched between my favorite sheets and topped with a down comforter wrapped in a cool cotton duvet. The sun shines through the gauzy bedroom curtains. Bliss.
In prayer with Joshua I thank God for these delights of the body, His little treasures of sensation. And I am grateful for this day, for being alive and happy.