From a letter to a friend:
As I sit by the lake: The shore where I live is for the most part pretty. A long time ago someone decided to preserve the lakefront for parks and beaches for all rather than allowing, say, houses for only the wealthy. So we have Burnham Park (south) and Promontory Point, and then Lake Shore Drive.
But, across the way, south and east, is Indiana — the haze of Indiana steel mills. I go through that part of Indiana — not far from the origins of Michael Jackson — whenever I take the train east. It’s an industrial nightmare. Particulate air that smells and clings to your nostrils long after you’ve passed through. Metal grey everywhere. Rust. Weeds. Decay. The look of spiritual death. Ugliness in its most eloquent form. Would the first explorers have envisioned such blight? Would that we could see what they saw — rich forests, shimmering prairies, verdant riverbanks teeming with life never seen on other continents . . .