Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What to do, what to do...

If you're suffering from cabin fever in this insane cold and don't mind taking the EL downtown I have a suggestion: go to the Winter Garden of the Harold Washington Library.

Spacious and blue, with real trees and a huge skylight, peaceful, mostly empty, save for the stray tourist who finds her way up to the 9th floor of the library.  There are a few tables and chairs where you can sit and write and read or gaze up to the sky.  Sometimes you'll hear clicking heels or a muted voice.  If you don't know what to read, the entire collection of the library - 1 million books - is at your disposal in one of the lower floors.  

A few years ago I read some of Borges's poetry in the Garden during a celebration honoring him.  My voice echoed throughout and flew out the glass roof all the way to Buenos Aires, to Borges's house in Palermo.  Beautiful places can transport you to a different world, a different time.  

As a Chicago Greeter I always took visitors to the Winter Garden passing through the ground floor Rotunda, the labyrinthine escalators, the elevators, all the way to the top.  Visitors marveled at the vast space, the still beauty, the joy that simplicity brings to our lives.  

A good book, a quiet place: what else do you need?