October 2018


Present day Cantigny Park, Wheaton, Illions was  home of Colonel Robert R. McCornick upto 1955.Colonel left his about 500 acre estate to community.  The estate now popularly known as Catigny park has many wonderful things and activities to offer. Another very important thing which colonel gave to community is Chacago Tribune. He was the owner and publisher of the esteemed news paper.

A big area is covered with beautiful bright gardens. It is not just a pleasing sight to eyes to walk through rainbow lanes of diverse species of flowers and plants but the interested ones can learn a lot about these while visiting there. Crystal clear water bodies in between these grassy , flowery areas add to the beauty of the park.

 

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The flower is
the stem’s cry of beauty
to the universe.
-Vassilis Comporozos

 

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“To see the world in a grain of sand
and heaven in a wildflower,
hold infinity in the palm of your hand
and eternity in an hour.”
-William Blake

I could go on talking about beauty of flowers there for a very long time, such was the wide variety blooming there.

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Here is just a glimpse of rainbow fields….. just to ignite your imagination.

There are tall, elegant trees all around grassy lawns and then there are dense almost forest like areas.

 

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The water body

 

The home of colonel stands in the park and a conducted tour inside the building is carried out. We did not have much spare time in our hands hence we had to forego that tour but we had a talk with guides sitting outside the building. They informed us that it takes almost forty five minutes to an hour to complete the entire tour. I am sure the tour must have been very informative and enlightening . The house was built by colonel’s grandfather Joseph Medill. the estate was earlier known as Red Oak Farm but later on was renamed as Cantigny by Colonel and his wife in memory of the French Village where Colonel served with First Division during World War First.

 

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Just a small portion of Meccornick house

Another very important part of this park is the First Division Museum. The museum takes one to the pages of history of the U.S. army’s 1st Infantry Division. Many stories of soldiers are displayed through sounds and sights. I loved the way families, from very young kids, youngsters to old people were engrossed in front of various big screens eager to learn the journey of their nations through conflicts. I always feel soldiers of every country should be remembered by the countrymen. They definitely are nation’s pride.

 

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Reception area of the museum

Outside the museum is tank park. Many tanks are displayed there.

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No amount of words can capture the beauty of nature, the legacy, the history displayed there. I am pretty sure just a single visit too would prove inadequate to imbibe all the information displayed and churned out there by various means. Cantegny park is a monument of the contribution of a person to the nation and to it’s countrymen.

All the pictures by Sunder Iyer

 

 

 

Our plan to catch hold of rising sun at Michigan lake was finalised during preceding evening. we four got up, freshened up and drove towards lake well before the announced time of sunrise on the day. I have always felt that the magic of watching a rising sun has it’s full impact if you start waiting for it in the darkness. The gaze fixed at east, slow descent of dawn, gradual spreading of light, changing of colours and the anticipation, all these combine together to make the experience sublime and uplifting.

Drive to North Avenue beach was pleasant. It was still dark . The road slipped smoothly under the wheels and the slight nip in the early morning air pepped up our eagerness to witness the majestic show  of sun stepping into the scene.

When we reached the beach, it was still translucent dark and the beach was almost deserted. one or two photographers carrying their kit, tripod walked on that concrete platform on which stood a small light house. This concrete strip runs midst waters. As there was hardly any human presence on the beach, ducks and other birds walked freely on the sand. It appeared they had been fun frolicking there for quite some time as the sand bed was full of their paw marks making it look like a painted carpet.

 

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The out lines of sky scrapers on city side gradually started emerging .  lights twinkled like gems while  the perfect moon with all it’s calm dignity as if stopped there behind the building to say it’s goodbye for the day.

on the other side we were waiting for the magical splendor of nature to unfold.

 

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The stage was getting ready for the  majestic appearance.Small blue waves lapped rhythmically.  It was mesmerizing to watch an unseen brush gradually paint the horizon  with soft silky hues– such lovely shades of pink, blue and yellow. While the light eased its way with gradual progression some feathery blue clouds floated as if in a blissful state. There were number of people on the beach but each one was wrapped in one’s own quietude. Watching the sky , I felt tranquil and serene within.  This always happens while waiting and watching the sun gracing the east sky.  Calm descends  slowly percolating down to the very core of soul.

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And then sun rose it’s head above the waters. It’s arrival coloured the sky pink and orange. The blues and yellows receded back. even the waves started blushing pink. as if all the elements around joined hands to be one with one another. How pacifying the thought was! we could see that lone, tiny boat on the other end of waters slowly inching towards the rising sun. None of us talked about it but all of us waited with batted breath to touch the boat the sun point before the sun rose high above the water rim. We all silently prayed to the boatman to be successful in his attempt. no prayers were not said loudly but the positive vibration of pious thoughts could be smelled in the air.

In the mean time a young couple had arrived and sat on the platform facing east, girl’s head softly anchored on boys shoulder while her traces flew slowly in the morning breeze. What a lovely picture they presented…. secure in each others company waiting for light to illuminate the world. I silently prayed for all their dreams to come true.

 

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And then came a group of youngsters riding on their bicycles. They parked their bicycles on the cemented strip and suddenly the air was filled with their lively chatters  and laughter. Sun too leapt to revel in their enthusiasm. Or was it blessing them to reach higher.

 

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as the cool sky of early morning was flushed with the magnificent hues of orange, crimson, rose and apple, we all there perhaps lived our most enchanting moments of the day  and got ready to walk in the agenda of the day with more calm and confidence.

All the pictures by Sunder Iyer.