the life of a city

What is it that draws us to one place or another? Many of us dream of relocating to a warmer or cooler climate. Still others move in order to be near to family or friends. Probably the vast majority of Americans simply go where their jobs take them.

If you're fortunate, you will find wonderful new friends in the place that you decide to take up residence. You will undoubtedly find a favorite new grocery store, a comfy little neighborhood coffee shop, a gem of a dinner restaurant. Your place of worship will be full of loving, supportive people. You will get into a new groove and start to recreate your life in this brand new locale.

But what about the spirit of the city? How does one find that? How can you find the undercurrent that drives a town; that fuels the people; that pulsates within the core of the community?

As I was out and about in Ann Arbor today I felt myself become swept into the current of this city. I spotted a woman riding a bicycle through the snow flurries; she was probably nearing 60 years old, with long gray hair, bundled up in a long wool coat with a messenger bag on her shoulder. A few miles down the road I passed the Re-Use center, and the parking lot was packed. Later, I drove by a house on campus with a giant paper mache football helmet on the front lawn. On my fourth trip around the parking lot of Whole Foods looking for a parking spot I saw a mother with her very young daughter coming out of Borders with bags and bags of books. Tonight at the Michigan/OSU basketball game the coliseum was alive with excitement, and the energy was tangible. Even in the trademark gray sky there was a certain charming quality, as if the predictability of the weather should be something that we appreciate about this place in such uncertain times.

Just as effortlessly as I left this city almost three years ago, today- just as seamlessly- I felt myself pulled right back in. And I couldn't be more jazzed to be back.

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