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Cricket Hill High

posted 3/24/2008 8:24:16 PM |
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Checagou is a word used to describe this area by the Potawatomi. Its rough translation is stinky
(Wild onion) swamp. The people who came here to settle called it Chicago. It’s best known as
“The Windy City”. Carl Sandburg called it the “City Of Big Shoulders”. The motto on the welcome sign says, “The City That Works”. It’s political slogan (however unofficial) is “Vote Early, Vote Often. Some of the tallest buildings in the world are here. There are many International and National headquarters here.
It’s the hub of our great nation. It’s a melting pot of peoples and cultures from all over the world. In the city proper there are 2.8 million people. Make that 2.8 million and 1, me.

I was born here in this city. My early years were spent on the north side. We moved around allot back in those days. A year or two in this neighbor hood and then on to another. My parents also moved me to Kentucky, New Jersey, and New York. When I was about 12 we moved back here for good. As an adult I lived in the city for a few years. As life would have it I moved to several different communities which surround Chicago. Then a couple of years ago I moved back here to pursue a journey of the heart. I’ve never understood how you can set off on one journey only to find yourself on a totally different path. There was a time in my younger years when I knew where all the best places where. All the hot spots, live music, best eats, coolest people. This latest journey finds me so far removed from all that. From the first steps I took again on the city streets, the first drives around to check things out I began to realize this was more of a journey back to my roots, than it was of new discovery.

In 1871 there was a terrible fire that just about destroyed the entire city. In the aftermath as the clean up began it was decided to haul the waste from the fire down and dump it into Lake Michigan. This must have seemed like an easy solution at the time for all the waste the city was creating. They didn’t know at the time but they were beginning to create a beautiful lakefront for everyone to enjoy. As land was being created it was decided to set all this new land aside. To create parks, lagoons and harbors for all the population to enjoy. Rich and poor could come and enjoy all of this, to escape the noise and crowded conditions of the city itself, if only for a short while. One of the things that has evolved over the years is the “Lakefront Bike Path. From top to bottom it’s about 22 miles long. It winds past all the museums and all the harbors. It also makes it way past Cricket Hill. The highest point along the lakefront.

Since I’ve moved back here I’ve rediscovered this wonderful part of the city. I was only back a month or two when I purchased a bike to ride the “path”. It was hard at first, it had been years since I had rode and I had never attempted to ride so far on a regular basis. I loved getting out on the path in the very early hours of the morning. Before the crowds would fill the paths and the beaches I could just lose myself in the moment. I don’t know where in the ride it happens. It’s never in the same place or time but there’s a magic that takes place. The burning in my legs leaves, my breathing isn’t labored. My mind clears and I can hear my thoughts. My mind, my body, the bike and the pavement begin a symphony. This music is a fine addition to this dance. Every ride I find myself at Cricket Hill. Climbing up to the top is just something I feel compelled to do. I could choose a spiral path around and around till I reach the summit. I never do. Instead I attack this obstacle as I do all of the ones in my life. Straight forward, and straight at it. I know I have to use all my muscle, all the gears to achieve this goal. I always do make it to the top.

On my latest climb I stopped at the summit. I gave all my systems a chance to fall back to normal. I stood there in the silence and let it all sink in. As a boy my Dad would bring me to this place. We would chase each other up and around. We would fly kites here on the summit. When we were done we would always release the kites and laugh and watch as the kite made it’s own way through the sky. It was never a sad moment. The next part was always the best. I would lay down and begin to roll down the hill. As I would come to a stop my Dad would be there and nudge me with his foot so I could begin to roll again. Oh and how we would laugh. The wind begins to pick up and I know it’s time to go. I begin my slow decent and it comes to me. I probably didn’t get it back then John. I surely get it now though. I may never get a chance to be “Rocky Mountain High”. But today, for a brief time. I was “Cricket Hill High”.

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Mar 24 @ 8:27PM  
Didnt realize ya were in Chi Town....duh, me....

I just moved from there last Dec. Spent a year there on Pratt in Rogers Park, a block from the lake.

Mar 24 @ 9:02PM  
That's what I call being "centered."

So.. I hope you don't mind, but as soon as I saw the name "Chicago" I started reading the blog in a THICK Chicago accent... lol

Mar 24 @ 9:16PM  
Nice story and great feeling!
Enjoy your quiet peaceful rides and the hills you conquer!
It’s nice to find your roots in your future.
Excellent blog!

Mar 24 @ 11:08PM  
wow....very nice story and very well written!! here's a kudo for you

Mar 24 @ 11:39PM  
Thank took me back to memories when simple was the best, for we didn't know any different, and now...sometimes I wish I didn't. love you for sharing.

Mar 25 @ 3:28AM  
Makes me wanna go out and buy a bike
Great story J!!

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Cricket Hill High