There’s a kind of wind here that’s filled with dirt. When you’re waiting for the Clark bus, this dirt-wind swirls around your eyes and if you aren’t careful, your eyes will fill with its treasures: a crumb of terra-cotta that tumbled off the Reliance Building, a particle of rust that sloughed off the under-carriage of a cab, a bright green sequin. When you board, you’ll be glad to sit and pick and claw at your retina. This wind is at its peak in late spring, when the snow rolls back like a grimy blanket to show what’s been sleeping in.
We’ve got another kind of wind that can brand your skin with cold. This wind will wait until both hands are busy carrying groceries. Then it will punch you every time you expose your cheek to the east, as you pass by the alleys between one building and the next. You’ll get distinct red marks on your chin. You’ll climb up all the flights to your floor, breathing heavily, soaking the armpits of your parka. A strand of your own hair, most likely, will need to be pulled out of your teeth. And there you are wondering what to do first. Remove the hair? Refrigerate the raw meat? Go pee? Answer your phone? Put the meat on your face?
But the wind we love most of all is a mix of exhaust from the Gonella Bakery and the Blommer Chocolate Company. Get up on top of the Halsted overpass, right near Grand if it’s early autumn, or cross the river on Kinzie, late on a rosy afternoon. Spread your arms and take in that view of downtown while cocoa soaks your skin and rising loaves scent your hair: you smell like a birthday, never mind the diesel truck idling next to you at the light. Keep the nostrils flared. Puff the heart. Tip the nose, up toward the top of each beastly buidling, up to the tiny cherried moon trying to climb. Bring in all the air, as deep as eating, deep as contagion, breathe.