I grew up in Detroit, Michigan. At the time, it was the third-largest city in the country. Detroit was mostly a mix of neighborhoods of immigrants — people from eastern Europe and from the American south and the hill country of the mid-south. They were drawn by the jobs at the car factories. And with the money generated by those factories, Michigan had a wonderful system of state parks and roadside picnic areas, encouraging travel out to the woods and lakes of the center and north of the state.
near my old neighborhood
I left Michigan sixty years ago. Detroit was already being hollowed out by racial politics and white flight. As those policies continued, we’ve seen the poisoning of a city’s water supply and the growth of hate groups. The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks 27 hate groups in the state, most clustered around Detroit. So it should not be surprising that a group of heavily-armed protesters invaded the state capitol. Now I read of armed vigilantes defending a barbershop that opened in defiance of the governor’s stay-at-home orders. And this morning I read that armed militias are planning to protest again tomorrow. I’m glad to be 2,000 miles away.
(A month ago, there were 246 confirmed covid cases in Michigan per 100,000 residents. Now there are twice that. Oregon has 81 per 100,000.)
a Detroit hair salon
There is increasing pressure to open. Oregon and Washington plan to do it in phases. The summary I saw indicated that even as things open, those at higher risk of infection should still stay at home, and the chart indicated that those at higher risk includes anyone over age 60. It looks like Andrea and I will be home for a while.
We did go out, though. Saturday we spent the afternoon with her brother, sitting apart in his backyard. It was wonderful to see him. Then on Sunday, we met our son and his twins in an empty, open field behind a school. We sat on the grass and he kept the kids downwind and at least 10 feet away. We’ve talked on the telephone and via Zoom, but that’s not the same as being present with each other.
Monday, we were both energized. I washed my bathroom floor while doing the laundry and Andrea was busy all day, too. This isolation is hard because we get energy from being with others. Then Tuesday we were both dragging. We’re doing better today.
The weather over the weekend was warm and sunny, but now the rains have come back. My hair is still OK after 13 weeks since professional attention, but I’m starting to think it was a mistake to throw out those hairpins years ago.
It was good to spend time with others, but we’re still being careful and staying mostly inside. With luck we’ll all get through this all right.