It’s not much, but I noticed this shriveled, black balloon maybe a week or so ago. I was standing at the Damen Blue Line stop, looking down onto the street, and noticed it hanging from a nearby tree. The balloon was being batted around by the wind, but had apparently been exposed to the elements for some time.

I found it fascinating. I mean, this thing has been out there a while. Rain. Snowstorms. Seriously cold Chicago winds that make my face scream if I’m outside too long. And through all of this, this black balloon has continued. No popping. No bursting. Just lasting.

Yesterday, I noticed it again and made a mental note to try to get to the train earlier. There was, I believe, a small patch of snow on top of the balloon yesterday (which would have been great to get on film).

It’s silly that such a strange, insignificant thing can capture my attention like this. More than that, it makes me smile. I see it and I don’t worry about work, about money, about the countless stressful things that only become stressful because I make them so.

I guess I project a lot. And in this case the balloon isn’t getting a lucky break, it’s not trying with all its strength. There’s no will, no stubborness, no determination.

That balloon simply exists. The balloon is just there. It is itself. It exists. And in doing so has weathered rain, and snow, and sun, and cold, emerging through all of it intact. And it will keep on simply existing, until that day when all the air inside is gone.

As I was taking this picture, I had several thoughts. I should accept what is around me. I should trust in who I am, for that will sustain me. This body I have is a fragile thing, but by simply being, I am victorious – so long as I continue being. So long as I continue to exist, I will persevere.

Until that day when all the air inside is gone.

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