It is well past the middle of April but tonight’s forecast is for some snow in Chicago.

I have been spending quite a bit of time this week around the Northwestern Hospital campus along Lake Michigan.

Here are a few iPhone photos of what can only be considered ordinary scenes, the kind of sights which are there but we usually don’t see.  Why?  We are absorbed, distracted, focused on our mission of the moment, hour.


westbound on Ontario  April 21 2013

early Sunday morning westbound on Ontario at the Michigan Avenue traffic light

It always attracts our attention to see someone with their iPhone, standing at the corner, taking pictures of the buildings, street bustle, something that caught their attention, their fancy.


from the parking deck

early evening from the parking deck

Instagram, Facebook.  Reality TV shows.  The unremarkable stories and ordinary things which catch the attention of ordinary people seems to be a significant theme.  Is there a lessening of interest and attention of Hollywood?  Perhaps not a lessening.  But how do we explain what is happening today as we watch America’s Got Talent and Duck Dynasty, check the Facebook posts by hundreds of our friends, look at images and scenes captured in Instagram?  Our interest and attention has broadened.  Eighty years ago media would have been little interested in ordinary people except as subjects of little-noticed documentaries.  Today social media and reality TV has expanded our attention.  Are celebrities less than what they once were?  Subdued?  The Big Lebowski.


from NW Hospital parking deck 6th level looking south on St Clair  April 2013

from the 11th floor

evening from the 11th floor, a view northeast

All of this ordinariness sometimes becomes far more than we care to have shared with us.

 flags in streeterville from nw hospital feinberg pavilion 11th floor elevator lobby






But there are times when what happens is that the eye of the person has caught something beyond the ordinariness they behold.  They have caught something fleeting with the light, the time of day.  So they think.  Or that thing has caught the attention, the imagination, the awe of the beholder.

rainy day on Fairbanks Court

rainy day on Fairbanks Court


Cities are especially good for this.  So busy.  So much.  So little noticed simply because we are overwhelmed.  But it’s still there.

If on our daily course our mind

Be set, to hallow all we find,

New treasures still, of countless price,

God will provide for sacrifice.

The trivial round, the common task,

Will furnish all we ought to ask;

Room to deny ourselves, a road

To bring us daily nearer God.


John Keble