Urban wilds

I used to be more of a city girl.

I’m finding now that even though I do love a city adventure, I really want to be outside. Not just outside, but preferably in nature, surrounded by growth and wind and water and wild (and yeah, bugs even).

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“I knew it wasn’t important” –unknown

So even when I am base-camped in urbanity I’m drawn to the wild areas. In the Detroit metro area, thankfully, there really are many.

When I’m not on the west side of Michigan I gravitate to this marsh, Pointe Mouillee State Game Area. It’s a game and nature preserve south of Detroit and encompassing some 5,000 acres, butted up against Lake Erie, and I love every bit of it.

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empty bottle on drainage pipe

My friend Jane and I ventured there last evening. There’s always something new to see (like one of the smaller parking lots, this time filled with discarded furniture in varying states of decay, a bed, used condoms–hey, urban nature isn’t always beautiful). And even when there’s nothing new, there are different things blooming or drying (depending on the season), different colors, different angles.

Even with the marshy smells here, and last night’s prolific mosquitos that only seemed to be biting me and not Jane, it was a nice break from the inside world of work and the concrete of my suburban neighborhood.

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Old and new

 

A new blog, a new format, so much newness to get used to. Here’s some old to counterbalance the new.

I toured an unused but not abandoned church, with permission, a few weeks ago. If you know me personally, you know I do a bit of abandonment photography. You might not know that I am conflicted about that–it involves trespassing and putting myself in some occasionally dangerous situations (scary, but exhilarating). For me it’s not about capturing the demise of the city but more about documentation, a journalistic view. I don’t attach myself to the right or wrong of a church or a factory that once was great but that can no longer be supported anymore, or a neighborhood in demise. These things beg for change but they are what they are in the moment that I come across them. I try to see the beauty in them where they stand.

 

But this church, and the building that housed the church offices and activities, has some new owners with all sorts of exciting, artistic, community-focused ideas. I love that new life will be breathed into these two structures and, hopefully, in the neighborhood around them.

Say what you will about Detroit. I know what’s happening here. I know the people who are fighting for change, and I know that regrowth is happening. There is art and food and culture and commerce here. I may live in the suburbs, but I patronize the city that centers our metro area. If you don’t step foot within city limits, your opinion means nothing.