Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spring hopes are eternal

So today was the last day of the quarter for the put-upon graduate students at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. I know this because I administered the final final exam for 15 of them this afternoon. They were happy to be done with the quarter. And I know that because of the shouting--some might say "hollering" or "whooping"--reverberating through the hallway outside the classroom.

And as I walked out of the building later (having graded all the exams and feeling pretty good about that myself), the feeling of done-ness, of "hey, I can sleep in tomorrow"-ness, was floating in the afternoon air, too. It's uplifting, that atmosphere. Kind of equal parts idealism and exuberance and enthusiasm about the future. As a friend and fellow university employee and I walked to our respective cars, he summed up the source of the students' happiness: "It's all the fun of being an adult with none of the responsibilities."

But I don't think that's quite it. And it wasn't just on campus. It's one of those near-perfect days in Chicago: sunshine that slices through the city haze, a breeze off the lake that actually smells like water, temperatures that make coats extraneous. Cruising down Lake Shore Drive from Evanston to downtown Chicago, I was going a solid two decades over the speed limit, and there still were cars whipping by. Every song that popped up on my iPod was perfect, starting with "Within a Mile of Home," by Flogging Molly (about whom I'll write more later this week).

So maybe it's official. Maybe Chicago has finally climbed out of its grimy, road-salt-encrusted winter cocoon.

And maybe, as the March sun turns the evening a comforting shade of yellow-orange, the city is smiling. Just like me.

1 comment:

Pete said...

thanks for a great post. gave me a great big 'i-love-chicago' smile.