Such a peaceful summer field.
Yellow butterflies. White poppies. Purple wildflowers. Clumps of Queen Anne's lace.
And up in the blue sky, just beyond the green grass, a giant red bull's-eye.
Coming soon. Another Target superstore.
What used to be here?
Occasionally when I'm wandering around Chicago, I try to remember what used to sit on land now claimed by some vacant lot or new building. Sometimes I can't recall. The city swallows itself, over and over.
For now, I can still see what once stood at the corner of Larrabee and Division streets on Chicago's Near North Side, but each time I drive past the Target while it's being built — the foundation, the beams, three stories of graceless wall that look fortified for nuclear attack — I realize the memory gets gauzier and more elusive.
On Thursday, curious to see who else remembered, I stopped the car and got out.
It was shortly after noon. A woman on her way to lunch strolled past, gazing at the cranes and the dump trucks, all the construction commotion next to the peaceful field.
Her name was Saher; she didn't want her last name used. She's 27 and works nearby in marketing.
Did she know what used to be here?
"I think it was just like nothing," she said. She glanced toward the hulking Target again. "Abandoned land?"
Awhile later, Valerie Davenport and Elena Aronson approached on their bikes, heading for the beach.
Did they know what used to be here?
Aronson, 22, said no.
Davenport, 21, cocked her head with a quizzical look.
"Isn't that where one of the projects was?"
It was. Ahmad Walker, 17, knew the details. He and his mother left for the South Side when their nearby building was torn down, but, like so many others, he comes back because this is where his memories and a lucky few of his friends are.
"Where the Target is at," he said, "it was 1230 N. Larrabee, 624 W. Division and 660 W. Division."
He waved a hand past the field.