The art fair was pretty big, two blocks long and doubled up in some places, but most of the art was not my personal style. It was inspiring to see so many different fine art forms represented, and to see so many people gathered in one place for this reason! But I felt a little deflated as I walked past booth after booth and nothing really caught my fancy. It was a cool day, but nice and sunny, and so I decided to keep exploring a bit and make the most of the trip. The Naperville Riverwalk flanks both sides of the West Branch of the DuPage River, covering an almost two-mile stretch of the river banks. Even though I had worked here for almost two years, I had never walked the whole Riverwalk. So this became the second half of my artist date.
It turned out that the art that inspired me on my artist date was the art of the Riverwalk's landscape itself: so many monuments, sculptures and sights that I had never seen before or failed to appreciate. I had heard of Centennial Beach, but had never grasped what anyone referred to. The Beach is closed this time of year, but it was almost more amazing to see it abandoned, to grasp the enormity of the space. I never saw the paddleboat dock before, and only once before had stopped to observe the Millenium Carillon (a musical bell tower featuring 72 bells, Naperville's carillon ranks among the four largest in the world). I hadn't seen any of the Riverwalk sculptures, or even understood the geography of how the DuPage River winds along. It became an adventure of hometown discoveries. I won't narrate every picture, but you can learn more about the Riverwalk sculptures and history here!
As I observed the anniversary of the September 11th tragedy just a week ago with a heavy, contemplative heart, I did not know how to put my thought into any form. It felt like a gift to discover this monument to those whose lives were lost or changed forever on that day.