Melancholy beauty. Yeeeees Brandon Stosuy, well put. It is an excellent description for this desolate place. It walks with sorrow. But it carries that sorrow with dignity and pride... perhaps that is why it feels familiar. I know what it is to walk with sorrow; and I attempt, though I do not always succeed, in carrying it with dignity. (No. Let's face it. Sometimes my sorrow is lugged around awkwardly like something out of Weekend at Bernie's Just with more snot. And less extraneous physical comedy). But what is it that draws us to ruination? What is the exact affinity? Why do we find it so compelling?
I admit I am always struck by the sadness Detroit evokes in people. Yes, there are abandoned buildings, yes there is extreme poverty; and OH yes, it is very, very cold. But the "ruins" of Detroit are as real as the ruins of Rome or Troy, and yet those are celebrated as the remains of pinnacles of civilization.
Perhaps Detroit's ruins are the symbols of what might have been, and that is why it strikes a chord with those of us who fear the presence of own own missed grasps at actualization? Our unfulfilled dreams? Our unrealized potential? Or worse, (and perhaps more accurate), we do not only experience the doubts. No. We feel and see our shortcomings as fully as anything. And Detroit embodies this fear. It forces us to confront the reality of disappointment. The snowblinding vision of what could have been. If only things had been different.
And yet, despite it all, out of nowhere and completely unexpectedly, Detroit has nuzzled it's dreary way into my reluctant heart. It says to the broken travelers of this world, Come, add your sorrow to my heavy load. I will carry it for you. I will lighten your burden. I will give it shape so you won't have to. Come. Lighten. Accept. Live. Ah Detroit. How I love you. And how I never thought I would yet here we are. Your voiceless character. Your will. Your tenacity. You have allowed yourself to be destroyed by lost, desperate, and clutching men and women. And this historic education is fixed in your throat like a snake, and spoken through a voiceless windpipe.
Detroit, lift up your weary head. There are those of us that will always love you.
"Ever will we conquer grief
and find it faster to resolve
the dead, to be absolved
and fed, to restore.
If the advantageous
We wont grow.
We will not ever know.
We will not!
(Lift my life in healthy places!)"
- Sufjan Stevens, Michigan