I’m lucky to have visited many places during my lifetime. Places that were grand, majestic, glittering, far-flung, exotic. Anyone can appreciate the beauty of travel. But there are also certain places that capture the heart in the humblest of ways; places that aren’t outwardly impressive or monumental. Sometimes what we need for the soul is right there amongst the ordinary.
My partner and I stayed at a family farm during our time in Detroit. No one paid us much attention; there was work to be done. Right away I noticed the sounds flowing in from outside and walked to a window to find a little African American girl, maybe 4 years old, wearing a pink dress and cowboy boots. She was walking around in the hay, squatting down to pick up distressed ducklings with her entire body the way kids pick things up. She was followed closely by two dogs, more distressed ducks and the most banged-up, tattered chicken I’ve ever seen. It was a cacophony of quacks, barks and little girl squeals. I watched this child and thought about how my grandmother grew up on a farm and had pet pigs and had to wake up early to milk the cows before school and was kicked in the head by a horse and would live to tell the tale to her granddaughter. At one point in time, this is how simple life had been.
We learned that they grew mostly “salad stuff”- arugula was the only thing specifically mentioned. That was what they sold at the market on Saturdays. They had to get rid of the goats because they kept finding ways to escape. Proud portraits of this farming couple hung on the walls. Inspirational messages scribbled on the chalkboard. I took my camera and explored out back and found a cilantro crop and a small bee collection. A swing hanging from a tree. A hut they had built out of old doors. By the second day of our stay, new guests had moved comfortably into the unfinished hut.
I could keep writing but there are some things that just can’t be described in words. I’m going to leave it to the images to convey my feelings about a place so humble and yet so unbelievably special.