So while I technically “moved into” the city of Detroit last Sunday, one week later I find myself still arriving in this place. It has been a whirlwind tour of introduction to the many Detroits that exist here, layered in time, space and experiences. I am gradually attempting to process this information into a coherent sense of place.
However, so much of the last week has been spent rushing in, out and around the city that I have barely had time to sift through the torrent of historical, spatial and sensory information pouring in.
A few things that stand out: Wandering around my new neighborhood in the early evening, waving to neighbors as they sat on porches and getting a sense of the order of streets and the distance along blocks. Sitting on the pier at Belle Isle and feeling the breeze off the Detroit River. Examining Diego Rivera’s huge “Industry” mural at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Visiting with an neighborhood urban garden project on the East side.
We ended the week by driving “Up North” to the Leelanau peninsula (on Lake Michigan near Traverse City) for a weekend retreat. It may have taken 4 hours to drive up there on Friday (and another 4 to drive back on Sunday), but it was a truly beautiful and restorative place to celebrate my birthday.
I had the day off today for Labor Day, but after a rather intensive week of being in groups, orientation discussions and community, it was nice to just spend a day continuing to explore the neighborhood, catch up on reading and wash laundry. From my house, I walked to campus of nearby Wayne State University, then around to the Detroit Public Library and the Detroit Institute of Arts. According to Google maps, I probably covered about 3.5 miles on my loop.
Trying to get ready for another week of immersion into the many layers of Detroit that make up this place. I am looking forward to finding out more about the work we will be doing. And then, the rush to get ready for Rosh Hashanah next week, and followed by a couple days of (hopefully) meaningful contemplation.