Tag Archives: parks

notes.

Standard

the notes i scribbled after each walk in the parks

sometimes in a code that even i could not decipher

the artifacts i gathered as i walked the parks

most dried out to the point where i could not recognize them

i threw all of the the notes and artifacts into a big shoe box

in one heaping pile 

things fell out and fell in

i found a purple feather and holiday glitter in the mix

clearly a very complex and organized system.

“if you wish to forget anything on the spot,

make a note that this thing is to be remembered.”

-edgar allan poe

Advertisements

a walk in the park.

Standard


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

night deposits.

Standard

“hutchins office – night deposits”

“i find if you are in an office, the crisis finds you.

if you’re not in the office, the crisis finds somebody else. “

-jeremy corbyn

*city of ann arbor tree nursery, ann arbor, mi, usa

provides and nurtures saplings for city parks and streets 

along with mulch, logs, and all things to do with trees. 

 —

*when i visited the parks’ nursery, there was no one there, and i loved happening upon this unusual ‘office’ setting. it looks like it could have been a staff meeting day, as there were 2 chairs sitting together. as i continue my walk through the parks, i now have 9 left to go, and i’m quite sure that i will be finished by my goal of halloween.

soul of a city.

Standard

many parks that i visit

are quiet and solitary experiences

and then there are others

teeming with people and life 

and noise and activities

of all kinds

both have such an important place and purpose.

“parks and playgrounds are the soul of a city.”
― marty rubin

 

 

 

 

 

gallup park, ann arbor, michigan, usa

memorials.

Standard

“welcome and be my guest”

just a sampling of memorials found all over the parks

on benches, stones, trees and shelters

each very personal 

and

each incredibly touching

“in memory of her college days here…”

“remember the things that make you glad.”

“to celebrate the joy he found in the outdoors and his pleasure in sharing it with others.” (for the creator of the ann arbor public schools outdoor education program)

shelter to rest and enjoy the beauty –

dedicated to a young woman who loved to be in nature

and left the world way too early.

“her generosity has ensured that ann arbor will remain a city of trees.”

“only when you drink from the river of silence shall you sing, and when you reach the mountain top you shall begin to climb, and when the earth shall claim your limbs, then you shall truly dance.”

“placed in honor by his park employees”

“a guiding light to all who knew her.”

“he loved to walk here.”

“a caring and generous man…”

darya lin

died on september 11, 2001 in nyc

in loving memory

“every memorial in its time has a different goal.”

-maya lin

sculptor and architect 

designer of  the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Washington, D.C.

dog day afternoon.

Standard

happiness is a dog

running free on 10 green acres

out in the elements

playing with the others

water bowls for all

in a huge fenced park devoted to them

and their people

walking and talking

benches and trees

waiting for them

when they tire out

while the dogs

 just keep on smiling and running.

“dogs have boundless enthusiasm but no sense of shame.

i should have a dog as a life coach.”

-moby

swift run dog park, ann arbor, mi, usa