When I say the word “cabin” — what do you think of? Are you remembering a specific place? Or are you imagining an ideal place? A dream of a cabin? I’d love to know about it. For now, let’s say you were a child — did you doze off in the backseat on the long trip up north? Did your parents unload the station wagon while you helped your aunt set up the grill? Did you make up your bed with grandma’s blankets pulled out of the cedar chest while your folks laughed together out back? Were all the details there already waiting for you — tried, tested, and true? Simple systems all sussed out before 1972. The picnic basket was there, the grill was here, and the umbrellas were always beneath the cabinet, with the sunblock and the bug spray. And weren’t there fishing poles, board games and hand-knit slippers for everyone? Aren’t you lucky someone thought of all those? Isn’t it something, to see people’s dreams expressed through their hands? Through their works? Are you remembering? Are you envisioning it?
When I say “cabin” — what do you think of? Are you daydreaming? Are you thinking about being somewhere else? Are you thinking of adventure? Of new circumstances? Of a different mode of living? Are you thinking of nature? Of trees? Are you thinking of air and wind and water? Of the spray of stars in the sky and the path of the moon? Are you dreaming of quiet times? Of laughter? Are you dreaming about feeling a greater connection with the natural world and with your friends and family — your community Are you daydreaming?
Now when I say the words “urban cabin” — what do you see? Are you surprised? Do you see contrasts and contradictions? Do you see the city streets, the buses and taxis and skyscrapers soaring past the treetops, lighted at night? Do you see language and signs and streetcars making their way down the avenue? Do you see architecture and monuments — the city’s dreams made real? Do you see the city’s age, its history, its future? Do you see the new as well as the old? Do you see folks smiling, walking their dogs, laughing together on the sidewalk? Do you see the neighborhoods, the people — do you see complexity? Aren’t there bike lanes and bookshops, dog-runs and sidewalk cafes? Aren’t we lucky someone thought of all those? Isn’t it something to see the city’s dreams expressed through the hands of its residents? Through their works? Are you surprised?
When I say the words “Detroit urban cabin,” all together — what do I mean? Are you curious? I mean a place held thoughtfully in balance with nature. A warm, welcoming place that’s as much a retreat as it is deeply rooted. I mean a place connected to its history and its community. I mean an old, brand-new place, preserved — honoring its heritage and embracing the future. I mean a place where the hands and hearts of those who’ve worked to make the El Moore a reality again are evident everywhere you look. I can’t wait ’til you see it, experience it for yourself. Isn’t it something to see a community’s dreams expressed through their hands? Through their works? Are you curious?