We arrived at Señor Terremoto's sister's home in a Chicago suburb in the midst of a "snowstorm." There are drifts along rooflines and along the curbs. The wind picks it up and it swirls in little eddies and any protected spot is drifted deep.
Hint: There's a very large tree next door. This type of tree is often found along rivers and was a welcome sight to the early pioneers as they crossed the great prairies. The large triangular leaves are attached to the branches in such a way that they have a characteristic flutter and sound in the wind.
In doing a bit of research today, I discovered that the Dakota Indians ate the sweet inner bark of young sprouts of these trees in the spring. They also fed young branches to their horses, and a dye was made from the leaf buds. The Sacred Pole, used in ceremonies of the Omaha Indians, is made from this tree. (This information is from a website maintained by Northern State University of South Dakota.)
Answer: Eastern Cottonwood, Populus deltoides.