In Through the Out Door

Downtown Galena, Illinois

Downtown Galena, Illinois

This summer was pretty jam-packed with too much work and not enough play, but I was able to carve out a weekend to visit the historic and charming town of Galena, Illinois. Nestled in the rolling hills of the Galena River valley, many of the buildings date from the Federalist period (around 1840). If you're a bit of a history nerd and you're anywhere near northwest Illinois, I encourage you to plan a visit.

Of all the spots we visited, it was the doors that caught my eye most often - specifically the doorknobs. I got teased for my level of enthusiasm over them, but hey...it is what it is.

I suppose I could write an essay about the symbolism of doors and explore how they figuratively and literally enable the passing from one place in life to another. I could wax poetic of how doors can be left wide open or locked up tight...blah blah blah. I'll spare you because I know you get it!

When I saw one of these knobs and ran up to it with my camera, I didn't see mundane hardware. I saw works of art. To me, these intricate entries were just as captivating as anything I've seen at the Louvre. I thought of the craftsmanship that went into creating those designs, and I thought of all those artists who didn't ever consider inscribing their name in the corner of their art. Those creators are long gone and mostly forgotten. Their bones are dust, but the stunning skill they once wielded lives on. Thousands of people walk past these works of art every year without batting an eye...but then there are people like me who stop dead in her tracks to capture them forever in a picture.

Regardless if it's chipped or fresh, the layers of paint tell a story too. Someone's quick cover up or meticulous painting job is inevitably erased by time and worn by weather. Rain etches verdigris into the metal and many hands keep the metal shining bright or dull it from the oil of curious fingers.

Who walked through here before me?

Who will walk through here after I'm gone?