Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Back In The Motor City And Wondering Why
I find myself back in Michigan. I came here for a surprise birthday party. I decided to stay through Thanksgiving. As I drive around the Detroit area, I realize how little of I ever captured in my novels. I don't have that many scenes set in winter. Yet winter, desolate and unforgiving, seems to be the dominant season here. The clouds hover at about a hundred feet off the ground. The trees are barren of all leaves. The small houses set back from the broken roads look as if they are trying to turn away from the wind. Everyone here hurries from one indoor place to another. I wondered to myself, as I have so often before: why does anyone live here? I know that sounds superior and is surely insulting. But I pose the question sincerely: why does anyone live here? If the US had been discovered from the West Coast, everything east of the Mississippi and north of the Mason-Dixon line would be a vast, empty nature reserve. People would leave California and Arizona and New Mexico to go to New York to hunt or fish or just take pictures. The residents of the sprawling cities of Oregon and Washington and Nevada would marvel at how rugged the landscape is in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The entire northeast of the US would be like Wyoming is now. Surely, the trends cannot be stopped. We all originated in Africa and we yearn to live in the Sun. The Midwest is fading away as a place to live and work. Demography is destiny, as they always say.