[WATER LAPPING] [MUSIC PLAYING] I think all of our lives, there are opportunities for stillness. Sometimes they’re forced upon us. For many reasons, life will tell you to sit down. But for the most part, we’re encouraged to keep moving. My grandmother used to live downtown. Whenever we came down, she would insist that we go on walks. And one of the walks that we would always take was down to Hart Plaza. And I just remember being at the river and looking out at Windsor, and her telling me that water never stops moving, and how profound that was to me — this idea of constant motion. Whenever I come home, one of the first things I do is go to Belle Isle. I just do a lap around the isle. It doesn’t matter what season it is. It could be the dead of winter, or it could be a crowded summer day. But that’s like a real grounding for me, you know. When I was growing up and when my daddy would come get me on the weekends, we would do a lap around Belle Isle in his ‘98. He always knew somebody in the park. It was always some family having a barbecue. And even if you just knew one person, that was reason enough to crash the barbecue. The giant slide towers in my memory. First of all, me being super brave, surfing down there, it was when I discovered that I was fearless. And I was born in the Black Bottom. When my family first came up from Alabama, they landed in the Black Bottom. [SOFT MUSIC] There’s this one beautiful picture of three or four generations of that side of my family on Belle Isle. They went to Belle Isle, this place that had been so sacred to me my entire life, way before I saw this picture. I’m probably connected to my egun, to my ancestors through them having walked through this space. And even if this space is something different now, it’s still the space where they once were. When I look at the East Side in particular, and I know how many people and families and literal homes are missing, like, I remember driving through my old hood on Eastlawn, and Charlevoix and Vernor, and just crying because none of the houses were there. And it probably looks a lot like Alabama. It probably looks like where my people came from, you know? Quite frankly on both sides — my mother is from Indiana — it looks like something incredibly rural. The flooding eats your memories. It destroys them. It literally takes your old photographs, your prom dress, your father’s boots. [WATER LAPPING] When I think about flooding, I think about how when water is still, flooding is literally like water being trapped and having nowhere to go. Sometimes we don’t even have not just the energy, but the means to deal with flooding. I think about what’s about to happen to this whole region. I think about individuals’ basement, and what it means every spring to have to go down there and bail out your basement every year and try to repair that damage, and have some resilience against the way that it eats your house, the foundation of your house. And so then, what we do consequently with memories and with, just, love thoughts, really, is we store them in a place. And sometimes we pull ‘em out to tend to ‘em, you know. But for the most part, we have to keep moving, because life is constantly in motion and is constantly changing. I try not to judge the changes, you know. I like to welcome them. But I also sometimes bemoan them, like I’m mournful of the things that are past. So much of what’s important about Detroit is the Blackness of it. You know, and as we lose that, just how much gets buried, whether it’s when freeways are created or when we just necessarily have to move forward, and things just get stored away. Maybe to be looked at some other time, but it could also be that they just end up being eaten up by the water, by the mold, by the neglect. I don’t have anything profound to say about erasure. It’s just this sinking feeling of, like, cities that may or may not have existed, you know, whether it was Atlantis or some city of gold. Will we exist moving forward? And if not, will these memories and these stories persist in 1,000 years? Like most people, I have an existential dread when it comes to thinking about climate. I think about what it would look like if Detroit suddenly became home to a bunch of climate refugees, if Michigan is a safe place and we had all the freshwater. [MUSIC PLAYING] [WATER LAPPING]


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