Archive for June, 2012


Friday, June 8th, 2012

Walking almost every day for the last three months affords me the opportunity to see what’s going on in my neighborhood, both with people and nature. I enjoy my walks, love being outside and have recorded over 175 miles in the last three months.

Observing from day to day I notice grass cutting that’s been derailed by rain, running out of gas, or some mechanical failure. Christmas lights disconnected by the advent of spring. And projects half done, suspended until there’s time, energy, or pieces gathered to complete the puzzle.

More often, my pace is halted by nature. One day, I stopped dead in my tracks at the sight of a bluebird. They are stunning in their color, almost indigo, so different from the blue of the more common blue jay. And another day, while walking by the retention pond at Skyline High, I spotted a beaver swimming on the surface, disturbing the glass like appearance of the water.

Last week, the cottonwoods were dispersing their seeds. One house on my street has particularly majestic cottonwoods. Their leaves glisten in the sun and wind, a kind of flutter that is unique to that tree, that shape of leaf. The small, fluffy light cotton balls were falling gently from the sky, like delicate snowflakes during the first real snow of the winter. And then I noticed them in the street. Fulmer Street at that point is slightly downhill. There was an imperceptible breeze, one that I couldn’t feel on my skin but could see in the street. Hundreds of little cotton ball ‘tumbleweeds’ racing down the street. The wind, just right, the pitch of the street, just right, the pace of their race, slightly slower than mine, as if I was the strongest marathon runner of the race, leaving them all behind. Except for a moment when I stopped. My stride delightfully interrupted by the site of these light, white balls racing down the street.

I love those moments: walk interrupted.

Barz, Hoon, Fonik, and Norm

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

A couple of months ago a couple of people I’ll call Barz and Hoon used black spray paint on signs, support columns, and under the overpass at Maple and M-14. I call them Barz and Hoon because, in addition to squiggles and drips, they spray painted their names. Instantly irritated, I had thoughts of an act of violence. I wanted to slap them upside the head. Not by any stretch of the imagination is this graffiti artistic, pleasant, or functional. In fact, it gets in the way of actually reading what the signs say. Which can still be a problem at the traffic round-abouts.

Several weeks after Fonik came along with a white can of spray paint, tried to cross out Barz and Hoon, added his/her name, along with profanity to the wall. Call me old fashioned, but profanity really bugs me.

Last week the play set at Garden Homes Park a block from my house was covered “with inappropriate words and pictures”. And on my morning walk (my route is directly by all of these places) I discovered graffiti on my sidewalk. Norm is my graffiti artist and on the urging of the Neighborhood watch coordinator’s email today, I called to report the incident.

The Ann Arbor officer was pleasant, took photos, and promised to report the incident to the investigating detective. Although I’m happy to have such a responsive police force, it’s so clear to me that we all have better things to do. “Except”, as the officer said, “the teenagers who have spray paint.” [sigh]