My family has been part of the Wines community for the last fourteen years. Flung west of the West Side and run through by the Huron River, Wines is an expansive, varied, beautiful part of town that I have grown to know intimately through countless walks, hikes, runs, and bike rides (and commutes and errands, too).

In the wake of the Great Recession, my wife and I lucked out in 2009 when we bought one of the modestly sized, postwar prefab ranch houses on Pomona, in Upper Water Hill. Swerving upward toward Ann Arbor’s water treatment center, I still contend that Pomona is the most beautiful road in town, especially when the maple trees turn aflame in mid-October.

We poured love into that house for many years and filled it with even more love when we had our first child in 2011. We strolled the sloping streets, discovered hidden paths and secret roads, and visited the playgrounds dotted throughout. For adventure we went to the Sunset Brooks or Bird Hills nature areas, and we were close enough to downtown to make a day of trekking to Kerrytown and back on farmers market days.

We knew all the neighbors, but I might have liked the bunnies best, which proliferated like, well, bunnies. And although the autumns were epic and the winters were cozy, I especially miss the magical summer nights when the fireflies would alight across the lawns upward and downward in a rolling, dappling carpet of silent communication.

In 2016 we moved to a 1970s-era split-level with big views and a screened-in porch in a secluded, woodsy area out toward the river, past Skyline. At the time, my wife and I wondered if it was fair to drag our kid off to a hideaway like this, where there were dirt roads, no sidewalks, and little sign of nearby houses. Luck struck again when we found families nearby with similarly aged kids, with whom ours ran roughshod through the woods. (This proved truly priceless during the most panicky phases of the pandemic.) We had our second child in 2017 and she also thrives in this pastoral scene.

Ours is not a yard so much as it is an ecosystem. We hosted a den of foxes and kits in 2017 and Cooper’s hawk siblings hunted the front and back woods throughout summer 2019. There’s a big groundhog we named Mr. Whistle, as in “whistle pig,” and a smaller one named Little Whistle, too. For the last several years, flocks of wild turkeys have scoured the ground daily through the summer and fall, only to curiously disappear mid-November. Hordes of deer, of course.

I’ve seen a bit of the changing planet in the changing of this yard, with trees bending and failing and eruptive waves of invasive plants. But the bees still arrive to do their work among the clover and the purple flowers on the myrtle. We’re deeply connected to Wines—a community of great people and much, much more.