Good Morning, Aurora!
I’ve never been a morning person, let alone a walking morning person, but something has to give. Life has gotten so hectic and busy, and I’ve lost momentum with my health and exercise. So, last night I decided to set the alarm for 4:50 a.m. in order to get my “stuff” completed by 5:30 and head out the door—not to embark on a fast and sweaty pace, rather, to leisurely stroll, to get myself going, to find brisk inspiration.
It was unsettling, this nighttime/not nighttime hour when the skies were just as dark as they were when I fell asleep. My first observation—everything was silent, eerily still, as if the gods pressed pause, and I was the only one not controlled by the command. I say “gods” because that was my second observation. In the heavens, the crescent moon and her shining companions were brighter than I remembered for a “morning” view. With no hint of the sun, the blackened sheet remained crisp with little cut-outs of light, like a grade school constellation project. A joyful Diana hovered over me in a slow waltz, and then I got lost in the silence again. My feet crunched on fallen leaves, and the wind blew strands of hair out of my ponytail and across my face. Every once in a while I’d pass a house and hear the slightest whoosh of a shower head or see a kitchen light turn on, simple reminders that daily life was on the horizon. The horizon. There was a fading from above; deep navy waned into a line of royal blue that swept above the trees and rooftops. Could Aurora be on Diana’s tail? I wondered how many city folk might have been up and about 144 years ago on October 8, trudging to work on Chicago’s desolate streets, unaware of the conflagration that would prevent such a walk for months, years even, to come. Hidden in the stillness of the Crosby Opera House with the curtains and gilded molding, the stage lights were waiting to illuminate once again the replica of Guido Reni’s fresco, Aurora, where images of the Goddess of Dawn led a parade of twelve figures dancing around their God of Sun, Apollo. These figures, the Hours, would see this day as their last back in 1871, as swirling flames would soon transform the painting, the building, the entire district and surrounding neighborhoods into ashes. What tragedy was in store for my geographical ancestors!
My head peeked upward, and there she was. I didn’t have time to relish the moment, so I introduced myself before climbing the stairs of my awakening home.
Good morning, Aurora, Goddess of the Dawn. My name is Geralyn, Goddess of the Pre-dawn Walk. I hope we meet again!
10/9/2015 09:15:48 am
What a nice surprise to find another lover of all things Chicago! I lived with my husband and two children for about 19 years in and around the area back in the 1980s-90s: Park Forest, Waukegan, Gurnee, Elmhurst, Berwyn, and the Edgewater neighborhood in the city. Your essay about Aurora was intriguing. Looking forward to following your website!
10/10/2015 12:59:41 am
What a treat! Thanks for taking time out to share a comment. My novel, which takes place in Chicago 1870s & 1880s, is in its final stages. Please subscribe on the "Home" page for your chance to win a free copy. (In addition to the Windy City, I've got a Berwyn feather in my cap, too!)
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