Kehinde Wiley. Wow. http://www.kehindewiley.com/Rumors_of_War/Prince_Tommaso.html
The Detroit Waterworks Park. Long ago… Off Jefferson Avenue. The building remains glorious just east of the Joseph Barry subdivision where the Mayor and Kid Rock live (not together). I believe the large clock tower was moved to Greenfield Village. It’s one of my favorite structures in the city.
Three Rules of Life…1: Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. 2: Don’t be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. 3: Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition - they somehow already know what you truly want to become.
Make New Legends. Le Nain Rouge of #detroit
Le Nain Rouge, “The Red Dwarf,” a short, impish, devilish sort with red black fur and glowing eyes has haunted the streets and shores of Detroit since Cadillac arrived in 1701. He’s said to leap, flip, spin, and dance, maniacally, almost comically, with frenetic enthusiasm. Not everyone sees him, and just now and then, and he always precedes disaster– lost fortunes (1701), bloody battles (1783), great fires (1805), riots (1967), and ice storms (1976). He’s Detroit’s own a Harbinger of Doom.
There are of course debates about this. Some say he existed long before Cadillac arrived and actually safeguarded the river, only becoming ‘feisty’ when a fleet of aggressive French ships came to seize the land. Others suggest he brings not disaster but warns us against it. And a few think he’s an active participant in the trouble! One thing cannot be argued. Since the 1980’s he just hasn’t been around much.
People have speculated, some quite thoughtfully, about his whereabouts. Sightings are fewer and farther between and result merely in cheap, petty misdemeanors like stolen cars and encounters with small-time burglars. Some whimper the city is too far-gone, there is nothing left to destroy, we don’t need him anymore. Others spew righteously that legends are dead by the screens of Xbox and Facebook.
However, if we take a more positive, long view, it’s only been about 35 years since a major Nain Rouge predicted disaster. Previous slumps lasted more than twice that! Not much red dwarf action was recorded between 1805 and 1967. There was a possible link with the War of 1812 and a few attacks on women in 1884, but even counting those we are left with a 72-year span of low activity. I’m pretty sure things can get a whole lot worse for Detroit in the next 35 years and we shouldn’t rule the little guy out just yet.
We should also take him seriously.
I’m not especially excited about the springtime parade that’s evolved in recent years to chase him out of the city; creating an effigy to destroy after a day of dress-up is irritatingly similar to, well, you know, and frankly mean. I like costume. I like silly. I even like burning effigies. But I’m not partial to messing around with real-deal legends and mythology, especially legends that can actually help us.
His absence is disheartening and he is important. We should be honoring him at this silly fabulous parade.
A few overlooked Nain Rouge accounts suggest that flattery, or perhaps even just sincere attention, might be able to change the course of impending ruin. This is interesting. Siren’s drown sailors at sea because they are lonely. Snow White’s wicked witch admits freely that she’s angry to be left out of the christening (hence tosses out a curse). The Wizard of Oz scares everyone with that big bad ominous voice because he is himself a wee little man afraid. Could our very own Nain Rouge just need a little TLC? Could we reap some rewards with love and kindness?
Story is important to making place. It’s important to building community. Story is what links us to each other, through our experiences. If we lose the Nain Rouge we also lose pieces of each other and important threads connecting us to this place, a fate much worse than a bad economy.
We must bring him back. I urge you to start looking for him!
And perhaps this time, instead of blaming him for our next round of misery while shaking a stick or a sword or something much more devious at him, we might offer little kindness, a little love. We might call out for Le Nain Rouge to help us out. It couldn’t hurt…