Mourning Commute?

barge on lake michigan

Is the pilot of this barge enjoying the beauty of his/her surroundings?

This watercraft, that looked like some kind of work-barge on its way to a job site, cruised past me one morning last week and my first thought was, Wow, what a wonderful morning commute that guy has!

Like a person on vacation, he’s out on the water, fresh breeze in his face, enjoying the sunrise – it’s perfect!

In reality though, this guy is not likely to be appreciating the beauty of the moment. He’s probably more focused on his work, what’s going wrong, the difficult contractor he has to meet today, that strange noise coming from the engine, the bad weather on the horizon, and the meeting with his son’s teacher later this afternoon.

Chicago morning skyline

The clouds and sun put on a show every morning over Chicago’s skyline.

On my daily commute, I’m privileged to witness a most awe-inspiring sight: a view to the east of the Chicago skyline at various stages of dawn. Everyday it is different, skyscrapers in various stages of lighting or silhouette, different cloud cover, different shadows and shadings.

I usually take a moment or two to enjoy it. But many days I don’t, as I’m thinking about family or work or the horrendous traffic.

It’s easy for me, on one beautiful morning along the lake, to tell a barge pilot to appreciate the spectacular views all around. It’s a little more challenging to do it for myself on a daily basis.

Upon further review, I’m giving that pilot the benefit of the doubt: he or she is definitely enjoying that sunrise.


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