The Wasatch Mountains have been crossed. The Great Plains, traversed. The Mississippi, forded. I am officially east, ish. To celebrate my illustrious return, my best friend and I lived it up this past Sunday. What did we do?
We swung for hours in a hammock and then laid in a park and listened to church bells.
Sunday was one of those glorious days, where after spending several weeks in the desert heat, mid-seventy degree weather with even less humidity. The Michigan sky was clear and devoid of haze as only it can be after a good storm which eradicates all traces of muggy, sticky air. A cool breeze wafted gently. All was well with the world. I spent hours in the hammock snoozing, thinking, dreaming, staring, pondering, reading, and all sorts of other "ings" before my best friend showed up and joined me in the hammock.
We caught up on life together, gossiping and giggling like a pair of schoolgirls. Eventually we decided to brave the rest of the world, which led us on a wandering journey of Metro Detroit. In quite the serendipitous occurrence, we stumbled across Christ's Church Cranbrook. The lovely front lawn was belittered with darling people in lawn chairs. They had books and Sunday papers with them, and all were faving the church.
"The carillon!" Dusty memories of my childhood attacked me as I recalled similar Sunday afternoons spent with my parents at the same church listening to the bells. "Stop the car," I pleaded, and luckily my geek-loving friend obliged.
We found a cozy spot nestled under three ancient trees to rest our picnic blanket and ourselves. For the next glorious forty minutes we lay in the grass staring up at the trees and sky, being lulled into complacency by the melodious music of the carillon tower. It was absolute heaven.
As if the bells and trees weren't enough, we ventured inside the giant stone building to take a gander. The nave of this church was absolutely breathtaking! I felt like I had been transported back to one of the great halls I had found in Europe rather than a church in Metro Detroit. Deep mahogany pews faced an alter of beautiful design and similar stain. The woodwork was continued up into the rafters of the nave, where the vaulted ceilings were lined with the most glorious wood panels and buttresses.
An official Christ's Church Cranbrook docent found us and proceeded to give us a full account of the church's hundred-plus-year history. There was far too much to recount here, but what really struck me was that a majority of the craftsmen hired for the artwork were local and were women. This is a huge development for the art world as the building was constructed just after the suffrage movement of the turn of the last century. The benefactor of the entire Cranbrook campus, a Mr. Booth, wanted the best artisans he could find, and they just happened to be women.
My feminist soapbox aside, Mo and I were inundated with the testament the church left of the artistic history of Detroit. As our beloved city crumbles around us, historical landmarks are lost, artwork, traditions-all of it is disappearing faster than we can absorb it- here is a building that remains and is cared for that shows the best that Detroit has to offer from its glory days of ol'.