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I’ve been walking a lot lately, discovering parks and trails around Detroit. It doesn’t matter where I go, if I slow down and take a moment, I’m rewarded with little surprises.

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I like to think that I’m pretty good at recognizing beautiful details all on my own, but on this particular day in Palmer Park, I was guided by signs. Original and unique art was placed at various spots along the path. Like randomly opening a book in the middle and starting from there, I didn’t really know what these character were doing here.

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Why here? What am I looking at? It was creative. It was fantastic.
And there was no way I wasn’t going to slow down and look at each
of these little nature guides.

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It seems that every one of these little signs tells its own story and it can be any story I want…

Once upon a time, there was a group of kids who headed into the woods. One by one, they each were drawn to a different spot. Each sat quietly for a bit in their spot and thought about how that place made them feel, what they saw, what they heard, smelled and touched. They took those feelings and they made them into art. The art was a sign, a reminder for anyone walking by each adopted spot to recognize that they were in a special place. Nature.

People walked by these spots and many never saw the signs. They didn’t recognize that they were somewhere special— they didn’t stop and take a moment to think about what they were seeing or hearing, smelling or touching. They didn’t realize that the kids created their art signs to show the magic that can be found on a journey through the woods.
If we look.

But some people in this story try to destroy the magic. They don’t think about how a place makes them feel, or what it looks like. They don’t see anything special about this place, or any place. They are the people who come to the woods, the parks, and the streets to throw their trash on the ground.

I want to rewrite this story. Because, along with the beauty I see in all of our parks and trails, empty lots and streets, I see trash. A lot of trash.

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