Some days, out of the many I am stuck at home, I reminisce about the last big trip my family took, to Illinois, and I wish so much I was there again. To tell about it won’t help me relive it, but it will serve as a tribute to an unforgettable experience that, for many months, has sat dormant in the back of my mind.
I grew up in Arlington Heights, Illinois, until I was three. I don’t remember very much about it, and since then I’ve only visited twice. Last summer, my family decided to visit Illinois for a plethora reasons. My mom and dad especially wanted to see how their hometown had changed.
A distinguishing feature between Illinois and Colorado is the trees. Upon arriving, we left the city and headed toward the suburbs. One of the first things I noticed was, on nearly every corner, there were beautiful green trees, so huge they almost blocked my visibility. I could not mistake this place for Colorado because everywhere I turned I saw not mountains but trees.
As for the Windy City, it proved very pleasurable. Outstanding museums and extraordinary architecture kept my family occupied a long while. We ventured up to the top of the Hancock Building on the longest elevator ride I might ever take, all the way up to the 94th floor. Standing up high, looking down on the world, marked a privilege not to be experienced by normal human beings. As any movie buff can imagine, it delivered just as stunning of a view as it had in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, when Ferris and his friends partook on their adventure about Chicago.
To pinpoint my favorite place in the city would prove nearly impossible, but perhaps the most memorable place came in the form of Navy Pier. Off the shore of Lake Michigan, where boats docked, stood a strip of stores and a number of street vendors fit for a carnival. The defining moment that night occurred when fireworks shot off from across the lake, an event which was intermingled with music and enlivened my soul.
The remarkable experience of the city expanded into the suburbs, as my family and I bid the bright lights farewell to acquire some much needed quiet. We drove about visiting places my parents remembered from as much as forty years ago. Then we encountered something my parents had never seen before, although they had read a lot about it. It was the cicada hatch of eighteen years. Cicadas that live in Colorado reproduce annually, but the cicadas in Illinois are of a different variety. We knew we were approaching them when we began to hear their distinct buzzing sound. As we approached a forest preserve, the noise grew deafening.
Walking into a forest filled with cicadas marked an important part of our trip. Yes, cicadas are repulsive and about five times the size of a fly, but I could have cared less if they were ten times the size! Stepping in amongst millions of flying bugs induced such fear in me that it was thrilling. Needless to say, there were some people who enjoyed it more than I did. Seeing a lady sunbathing in the midst of cicadas signified the single most peculiar thing I had ever seen!
In the years to come, I will never forget a vacation like this. Hopefully, in the years to come, I will go back there, but until then, I can only contemplate my past.
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