This has been a tough week for us Rogers Parkers. After the tragic death of William Lewis on Saturday and the shootings near Farwell and Greenview on Wednesday, i don't think that i'm alone in feeling a little bit afraid in this neighborhood i love. In the fourteen years that i've lived in Rogers Park, i've seen a lot of ups and downs. When i first moved here back in 2000, things were so bad that i used to walk an extra four blocks from the Loyola L stop rather than risk walking from Morse after dark. But this time, i even considered, however briefly, whether maybe it was time to find a new place to live.
Even though the events of this week have truly rattled me, i've been reminding myself of the resilience of this neighborhood and its people, of how we don't let these relatively infrequent outbursts of violence define us or drive us away. Then yesterday afternoon i walked to the beach with the dog, as i often do. It was a beautiful day: the sun was shining, the lake was sparkling, there were kids playing in the sand, bicyclists, couples strolling along the path, old folks sitting on the benches, and the man pictured above strumming his guitar and belting out "Free Bird" at the top of his lungs. And i stopped. And i smiled. And i remembered that this is the Rogers Park i love.
This is home.