Ghosts of Winter

In the Winter, nobody shows their face. Or, rather, within the shadowy days of January, February, and March, everyone becomes a ghost.

Once it's time for the Christmas trees to meet their rotten fates and the airports are again quiet with the leftover hum of ended trips and separated family members, the people of the Chicago tundra tend to silently fall into a formless kind of mourning.

Strangers' faces, covered with scarves and hats, unwittingly enter the realm of anonymity. The public image is no longer about impressions, as comfort and survival push their way to the forefront.

Perhaps due to this inherent anonymity, most people in the winter walk alone. With shopping bags (and sometimes a dog or two) in tow, strangers pass each other with their heads down. This lack of public kinship can sometimes dehumanize others, but most of the time a collective understanding is felt. We're all just trying to get somewhere better.

But in the winter there is safety and refuge in orange-lit apartments, buzzing coffeeshops and dusty libraries. If there's one positive aspect about existing in a sub-degree tundra for months on end, it's the unspoken permission it grants us to be unapologetically introspective.

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