I must admit that sometimes I get into a real funk about Lansing. This state of mental darkness usually results from a news clip or Facebook post involving shootings or some other such violence. It can overwhelm me and change my rose colored classes to a much darker tint. As much as I feel this heaviness will never fade at the time it settles over me, something always happens that refreshes my spirit and brightens my view. Two different activities bloomed out of darkness putting the rose back into my glasses.
The first of these I happened upon by accident while on a bike ride with the twins. We had unloaded our bikes in Old Town and decided to ride south into town on the river trail. As we crossed Saginaw we passed into a sea of Common Ground excitement. Corn dogs and fresh squeezed lemonade stands were set up along the trail, the workers preparing for a long day of festivities. There were revelers pitching spots with chairs and blankets waiting for the show to begin. Boats of all sizes traveled up and down the Grand River. Folks were out walking their dogs, runners were out running their miles and despite the warning that it might be too crowded for bikes, many bikers were on the trails, slowly moving in and out of the pedestrians. We continued down the path, our joy at all the sights increasing with each pedal. Then I saw it. I’d already seen quite a few photos of it from my Facebook family but I had no idea where it was. Now I knew, because it was right next to us on our bike path. As we slowly rode passed I nodded at the volunteer attendee but instead of just nodding back she says, “You can come in, it’s free to the public.” We can go in? Free to the public? Evan doesn’t have socks Ellie tells the lady. She says that’s okay. We back our bikes around the fencing. I don’t feel too worried that I didn’t bring a lock as there are at least 6 volunteers hanging out there and I could tell they wouldn’t let our bikes get taken. We take off our shoes and head into the Architects of Air. It is a hand created, special PVC (like a thick pool liner) plastic, blown up building. After we receive the introductions we are escorted into the main area where light music is playing and we are instructed to enjoy the space for as long as we’d like. The first thing I notice is the heat. It’s hot in there! But more overwhelming is the lights. Each area is made with a different color and some rooms have extravagant designs crafted into it creating lava like funnels, diamond shaped blue sky, and even a church cathedral. It was amazing!
The second activity that warmed my mood was Lansing’s Color Run. It’s the Happiest 5K on the Planet. On Saturday I raced to downtown Lansing in hopes to walk a few straggler streets I had to walk but also to catch a glimpse of this intriguing 5k race. I’m not sure what brightened my day more; the loud music blaring from the capital, all the people dressed in tutus, the crowds of people downtown on a Saturday morning, the colorful dust clouds the runners ran through (sometimes rolling in), or that this walk completed a very large chunk of city for me.
Many times I hear how bleak Lansing is. I hear the negatives. I watch the news. However I am almost certain that those are the dissipating thunderstorm clouds of a passing storm. Too many more times I see the rays of sunshine peeking out from those thinning dark blue clouds. Looking even closer you can even make out the magical colors of the rainbow as it marches the storm out the door. That’s the true color of Lansing.
This is my walk from this blog. With it I have not completely walked all the streets south and including Saginaw and north of 496. Probably two more walks and I will have every street walked north of 496.