There’s this chocolate factory just west of the Loop (business district) in Chicago. Every once in a while — if the wind is just right and they’re working on a fresh batch — the aroma of chocolate envelops you as you walk across the river from the commuter train station. I think it smells like baking brownies and it is a delicious way to start your day.
When I bike into work, I ride right by the chocolate factory and always get to catch that heavenly smell. Just a few minutes away on my bike route is the bread factory which smells equally delicious. Bread and chocolate in the morning…sounds like a great combination to me.
The chocolate factory is on the west side of the river, and for some reason the smell doesn’t seem to make it across the water. Maybe it’s all those tall office buildings in the way. Whatever it is, by the time you get across the river, the smell is gone and you’re back to the usual urban sensory data: cars, buses, and all of their attendant sounds and odors.
I often enjoy my short walk across the river and wish I had a camera handy. The sights are usually quite pleasing: commuter boats (yes, during the warmer months here you can complete your commute via boat to the east side of the Loop instead of walking it), ducks, sculling crews, barges (reminding us that the river really is still used for commerce and not just pleasure), and patterns in the current. I guess since I usually can’t juggle a camera, a loaded backpack, and a cup of coffee, these sights, sounds and smells will remain my private pleasure. But you can imagine you’re here, walking next to me, enjoying them, too.