Back home in the windy city of San Francisco
Posted by shannonclark on June 1, 2007
I left the hot and sticky unseasonably warm city of Chicago yesterday and returned home to San Francisco, where today the winds are blowing and rattling the windows of my apartment as I write this post. As my flight landed and I made my way home from the airport, I realized that for the first time since I moved out to the Bay Area that San Francisco was now my home, not just where I happened to live at the moment.
Not perhaps where I will live forever, but home for now. Chicago & Oak Park, which had been home for so many years, and which I will always treasure and return to from time to time, is however no longer my home.
It is a complex question – what makes a place home. For me, I have retrained my eyes, finally starting to see and appreciate a non-flat part of the globe, a place where in the distance are hills, parks, forests, and 1000’s of others. Chicago is a bigger city than San Francisco – bigger by near 3x – but in my day to day walking in each city, San Francisco feels bigger – your eye takes in more of the city, more people. In Chicago when you walk down most streets you see only the buildings on either side of you and a few in front, occasionally towards downtown you see a few skyscrapers as well, but your vision is always constrained to the nearby, to the artificial and manmade.
In the Bay Area (and indeed throughout the west coast and northwest) however at most times besides the buildings immediately to each side of you, there are likely many more above or below, at every corner a new vista can unfold – one which often will stretch across water and to hills and mountains in the far distance.
It is still unusual to me, still new, but I feel it is teaching me something. I suspect that our environment shapes how we interact with each other.