Sunday, October 7, 2012

My New Commute - Mid Autumn

With a new job comes a new commute. This one is somewhat different than any I have had before. Each day I take a short, 10 to 15 minute train trip from Chicago's northern border to a suburb located northwest of the city.

It is mid autumn. The leaves are more colorful than I had dared hope after the drought and extraordinary heat we experienced over the summer. Initially the train runs through a tangle of these leaves. Yellow, colored by the fading sunlight of the season, mixes with the last, remaining green of summer. I am learning to overlook the rail maintenance yard and water treatment plant that follows. In an odd juxtaposition, the stately administration building which stands watch over the bubbling cauldrons of recycled water is a study of classic art deco beauty. Soon there is a grass easement on either side of the train sprinkled with yellow wild flowers and queen anne's lace. One evening a doe and her fawn stood in the grass as the train passed.

Neighborhoods of cozy late mid century bungalows sitting side by side along tree lined streets appear. The trees are an autumn rainbow of orange, green, yellow and red. Masses of other treetops can be seen in the distance. The soft transition from one autumn shade to another look almost as if they could have been painted by Monet, had he not been obsessed with his palette of soft pastels.

At my rides end stands the historic first train station for this suburb. Built in 1924 it is an excellent example of Prairie School architecture. It has been moved 130 feet east from it's original location. Today it houses a Starbucks and a company which assists people with declaring bankruptcy. As I think of the lack of respect for the building and it's history that this use shows I am heartened by the fact that there was enough respect to keep it from being bulldozed into a memory.  


  1. I too think it sad to see wonderful history-ful places go to decay.
    I also miss Chicago in the autumn. Best time of year there.