When I returned to the Midwest after six years in California where I fell in love with the hugeness of the Pacific, I stood at the shore of Lake Michigan and thought: Oh. You? Living in a flat landscape after the majesty of mountains, deserts, and a powerful salty ocean, you tend to be easily underwhelmed. Especially if you’re back where you grew up, where you thought you’d never be. It takes a few seasons to adjust to seasons; the cold is cold, and the heat is steamy. But then you begin to notice that the deep silence of winter is involved with the lake’s chilled waters. You see that the shape of the coastline really does lead through Indiana to Michigan. And then one day you find yourself walking down Chicago Ave. under a heavy midwestern sky–remembering that above the cloud cover there is a bright and sparkling sun, that there will be no mountains to be seen once a nonexistent fog burns off–and you happen to glance eastward and catch sight of a slim patch of blue. Wherever you go, there is the lake, a hundred shades of it to reflect the sky. That’s Evanston: a place with one of the Great Lakes at the end of the street.