Tag Archives: community

on the wind.

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rows and rows of flowering kale and cabbages

all come together

to create a beautiful, tiny fairy forest.

“a forest is not a wilderness,

but a community of souls who speak to one another on the wind.”

― anthony t. hincks

 

 

oakland county farmer’s market, pontiac, michigan, usa

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a walk in the park.

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from july 3rd-october 30th, i spent much of my free time walking the parks in ann arbor. i was initially surprised that there were over 150 parks in the city, but happy to discover the number. and so, with no sense of direction, and no expectations, other than to see what was out there, i wandered into the woods and stumbled into the greenspaces, open to whatever came my way.

 some of the things i discovered about the parks –

ann arbor has 152 parks, along with other recreational and activity spaces

not all of the parks were easy to find or to access, information and directions were vague at times – there were many secret entrances. during this adventure, i had to climb though brambles, through backyards, across driveways, park illegally, go over and under fences, across ravines, around hills, between fences, over water, under low trees, and behind school yards.

the parks total over 2,000 acres (more on that tomorrow)

they range in size from the tiniest pocket parks (postman’s rest and depot) to the largest- birdhills (161 acres) and the nichols arboretum (123 acres)

many different people/organizations help to care for them – the university of michigan school of natural resources, the boy and girl scouts, garden clubs, sportsmen’s clubs, land preservation groups, businesses, neighbors, schools, churches, anonymous individuals

they are used for all kinds of celebrations, get togethers, meetings, activities, sports in every season, as well as solitary endeavors

all kinds and ages of people and animals use the parks

there is a lot of water involved – rivers, creeks, streams, lakes

lots of trees, wildflowers, corn, berries, pine cones, apples, orchids, peonies, lilies, mushrooms, thistles, brambles, green spaces, vines, grasses, ravines, hills, fields, marshes, meadows

lots of rocks – from boulders to gravel

play areas of all kinds – for toddlers through adult sports enthusiasts

lots of structures – tree houses, forts, damns, benches, tables, huts, camp sites

lots of animals of every kind

incredible histories and memorials

lots of neighborhood parks – each has at least one park within it

at times i felt like i was in someone’s intimate space, like showing up and sharing their yard with them

other times, i was the only one in a large, incredibly beautiful space, in the middle of the city, or just on the outskirts, but deep in the woods, hidden away and far removed

some of the things i discovered about myself:

i am stronger and have much more stamina than when i began walking

i am apparently bite and injury resistant – never was bitten by any insect, animal, or human, only got scraped after my slide down a hill

i love walking deep in the woods in quiet solitude

it takes me about 40 minutes before i am deep in my zen zone when walking and then i could walk forever

i also love being amidst the wildlife and human activity in the parks at times

i went through 1 and 1/2 pairs of shoes

i discovered interesting lost/abandoned items along the way – mittens, socks, flip flops, shorts, underwear, glasses….

i am now a bit wealthier – (found 28 cents along the way)

i am able to walk in all weather conditions

i still have a horrendous sense of direction but always find my way back home

i found so much more than i ever expected, including an incredible sense of peace, and feel changed in ways that will stay with me forever

each and every park has a story, each one has its own personality, each one has very loyal caretakers, each one is valued by the community, each one is clearly loved by someone.

it was a long, but wonderful journey and when i finally reached the end of the list, it was bittersweet. along the way, i learned much about my city, the people who live here, the spaces within my community,  the nature that surrounds me, and even more about myself. thank you to ann arbor for providing such amazing places of beauty for all of us .

“many a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceased.”

-john steinbeck

neighbors.

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1st annual neighborhood block party

nice for all of us to mix together

rather than just pass on the street

get to know each other a bit better

 police, fire, and ice cream people

the holy trinity of community support

came by for a visit

raised money for toys for our neighborhood park

lots of people, lots of food, lots of fun.

“nothing makes you more tolerant of a neighbor’s noisy party than being there.”

-franklin p. jones

land as community.

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 a beautiful morning walk

sharing earhart park with this lovely creature

an evening spent at the first and second sister lakes in dolph nature area

“when we begin to see land as a community to which we belong, 

we may begin to use it with love and respect.”

– aldo leopold

*i’ve now walked 60 of the ann arbor parks,

(all of the way through the letter ‘e’), only 100ish more to go-

i hope to have found and walked all of them by halloween, october 31

as i look forward to the beauty to be found in the change of seasons.

behold the world in pause.

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shirley in her camp i.d. picture

have you seen this face?

once again

i am reminded

why

i love my community website

 with all its sincere and heartfelt

eccentric charm

this time

there’s a notice about a turtle

who has ‘run away’ from camp

i have to wonder

could there be a slower animal

other than maybe a snail

to have made the great escape?

did anyone else know about turtle camp

or have i been living a sheltered life?

do you think she was homesick

or

just didn’t want to take part

in the arts ‘n crafts or talent night?

NEWSLETTER QUERY:

R.H. – 1 day ago

if you see this turtle, please phone — (see picture above)

Our turtle Shirley has escaped once again from turtle camp on J. Road, near V. Ave. She should be wearing a piece of blue duct tape on the back of her shell. She’s very friendly. She may have gotten pretty far – last time, she got to near J. Road and R. Road. before she was found.

Please call ——- (land line) if found. Or text ——-. Thank you!

Reward offered.

Probably will have lit out in the exact same direction as before.

RESPONSES:

W. H. – 1 day ago
I hope that neuroscientist didn’t get her for his experiments.

M. H. -1d ago
Oh my goodness we’ll keep our eyes out! (I read this and thought – oh my goodness, another person who sends their turtle to camp?! And then realized it was you!)

UPDATE:

as of today

shirley is still on the lam. 

“take a walk with a turtle. and behold the world in pause.”

-bruce feiler

journos.

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“ann arbor news reporter stan bradshaw

leaves building front door for assignment, september 1948″.


this old news image reflects the one we often had of intrepid reporters, hot on an assignment, giving us the latest news of pinnacle events in the life of ann arbor. there was a certain quality and reliability to the news and its staff, bringing us the best stories and photographs available. the photos still resonate with the innocence and spontaneity of life and those living it here.

“journalism keeps you planted in the earth.”

-ray bradbury

to all the journos out there, still finding a way to tell the story.

 

 

 

 

 

image credits: oldnews.aadl.org, ann arbor townies