just stop

Chicago
Stress overcame me as I realized I had planned my return trip back into the city right smack in the heart of rush hour. I had to get from the far Northside to Downtown in just under an hour. OK, GO, GO, GO! I had only been away from the city for two months – had I lost my driving skills all together? This would surely be the test. With sweaty palms and a white knuckle grip on the steering wheel, I merged onto South Lakeshore Drive off of Hollywood Avenue, and then I saw it. There she was glittering on the horizon. After weeks of grey appeared the most beautiful silhouette against a cold blue winter sky. Sunset was fast approaching. It was sure to be spectacular. So I did it without thinking. I crossed four lanes of traffic to exit at Montrose Harbor. City driving test: passed.

I parked the car and trudged though the slushy remains of winter until I got to the lake front trail and I stood. I just stood. I stood in silence and I watched the city from afar under an ombre of blue. I knew what seemed so peaceful and serene was bustling around in perfect, chaotic harmony just miles away. But not for this moment. For this moment she was calm and she was thoughtful.

I snapped a quick picture (above) and started walking back to my car when I noticed something even more moving than the sunset. I wasn’t alone. On this cold, wintery night during rush hour traffic, there were others standing as still as statues taking it in. And more cars were pulling in one after the other. There we all stood, together. For this moment it was the city looking at us, observing our calmness and thoughtfulness.

It was one of those moments that overwhelms you and brings you to tears, reminding you of the brevity of life and that something as simple as a sunset can bring people together and strip us down to nothing but our humanity.

People still stop to smell the roses. There’s still hope.

The rest of the snow has melted and spring is just around the corner. Life is sure to speed up as it always does while we fill our longer days with activities from sunrise to sunset, but don’t forget to stop. Always make time to stop. For the sake of humanity.

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