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The Chronicles of Niles Studio I, Fall 2016 Yitong Du, Eric Ellingsen

The story happens in Niles, Chicago City. The story is about a boy was discovering a secret path. The story tells experience of feeling past and future.

Meet a Deer


ast month Future and his family moved to Chicago. Future had been attending a new school for two weeks. Future was 8 years old. Future was so excited to know new friends and the forest beside his house as well.


very day Future can see deer from his kitchen window. Every day Future can see a deer by the sidewalk on his way to school and back. But every time Future tries to get close to the deer, the deer jumps away into the forest quickly.


his afternoon Future sits at the table as Future always sits at the table on Saturdays. The deer shows up behind Future’s kitchen window today like always. This time the deer is standing under the oak tree and watching Future. This makes Future so curious about this strange deer that he decides to go out to see the deer carefully.


photo from Eric

Find the Secret Path


he deer doesn't move when Future arrives. The deer doesn’t play with Future, even when Future tries to play with the dear. Instead, the deer just walks into the forest in almost a humble way.


uture follows the deer as the deer runs through trees, bushes and deadwoods. Future follows the deer over hills and grasslands along the river. Deer stops at a waterfall and disappears for one second. To Future, that second feels like forever‌

Do not go gentle into that good night Dylan Thomas, 1914 - 1953 Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night. Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night. Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Experience the Timing


n the beginning of forever, Future notices for the first time that there is a wooden bridge on the river. Future crosses the bridge, it but there is no way to see where the bridge leads. Future is scared for a moment. “Why would anyone make a bridge that didn’t lead anywhere”, Future thought. But when Future follows the bridge further than he can see into the forest, a path seems to show up in front of him.


uture had never imagined a secret path in the forest. The trip becomes more and more interesting. On this path, Future starts to see where he was just a few minutes ago. This happens because Future can see through well placed openings where he was before. Future can see where he came from in some places. Future sees where he is going in others. In some places Future can see where he was and where he is going at the same time. This is happening now.


ow Future realizes the past is right in front of him. Future wonders if the past is in front of him, if the past is his future too?


uture’s senses are continuously firing him memories of places he had just been. It was like everything on the path was repeating like dÊjà vu. Future notices that right next to the old trees on the secret path there are young trees. The difference is subtle, but there it is. Because it repeats over and over he knows it is intentional. He knows that he can read the old and the new together. He knows for instance that when the path starts to bend into a loop like an ox-bow in the river beside him, that he will be able to see where he just was and where he is going to be in the near future at the same time.


uture knows that when he sees a big tree by the river before he arrives there, that he will see a much younger tree too when he arrives.


hen Future arrives at the river, he finds a giant stone lies in the river. The water around the stone is freezing. He feels that maybe the stone was put there to hold onto the weather and the cold a little differently where Future is now then where he is not.


huge red maple grows at the center of black burnt earth. The burnt black soil extends along the path to the grassland by the river. The black path of burned soil makes the dry plants around the path much more visible. Future can smell the path he is on. The sap and life from the brown dry plants are living in their roots. And yet Future feels the plants are alive in their brittleness. The Future feels the burnt soil is there intentionally. Future feels the burnt path is a place that his feet will remember because his shoes will be colored.


have no idea about what this area is, Future says. Future has come to other side of something that seems to freeze time in some spaces and speed up in others. The time seems to be disordered in places where leaves fall and water start to freeze at August. But the place seems to be ordered in small parts that make him feel that someone gave just a little bit of constant care and attention to a few details. Future feels the hand of the people that fixed the path in the past. The tree grows up from a little branch. The water get freezing and melting alternatively. Future can feel the Future coming. 1930 s

1950 s

1990 s


deer arrives again. The deer has taken the secret path. And now Future follows the deer back to the entrance of the park and to Futures yard.


ear diary, what a magical and amazing trip I have! Future writes.

A Secret Path  

recent studio work at IIT Fall 2016

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