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Arts Council of Greater Lansing interim director Meghan Martin and her deck

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My deck is connected with nature and community. It offers a cool, nice place for me to reflect on everything and watch life go by. It’s amazing how these spaces become such a part of us.

The wood itself is part of the item I cherish because I have to take care of it every day. Even when it is winter I go out there and shovel off the snow. My deck feels like more of a living space I can take care of and make sure it is loved.

It is where I sit back and reflect on everything I do in my daily life. I have a favorite chair I sit in that is perfectly comfortable and points right toward the park where my kids are playing. The trees and my favorite lilac bush are like a canopy and my kids’ swing are framed in this beautiful square space I can look right through and see all the activity in the park. We have a huge green space ahead and a cornfield out there where I can occasionally see the farmer tending his field.

Another thing is it is a side deck, and we have a path that connects people to the park so we get to see all the neighbors. We get a lot of strollers, bikes, scooters and kids going by. I’ve lived in spaces where I didn’t have this opportunity and I really craved it because I do have a long history in my childhood of getting out and meeting neighbors.

One thing we talk about at the Arts Council is this movement where people started getting back decks and stopped meeting their neighbors. They just kind of took themselves off the front deck where everyone was passing by and moved it to the back where no one is engaging with each other.

Some of the best times on the deck are when all of my family comes over and we are all buzzing around the grill. The kids will be leaping out into the field. We’ve been known to start a kickball game that turns into a whole neighborhood affair.

We also set up the old movie screen, project movies and annoy the neighbors.

There are other things I engage with daily that other people might attach sentimental value to. For me, those aren’t things that connected to anything. They don’t offer me a cherished item feeling like my deck.

Without my deck, I wouldn’t have a place to unwind or decompress. I wouldn’t have that time to just sit without speaking and just sit and watch the world go by.

(This interview was edited and condensed by Dennis Burck. If you have a recommendation for “Favorite Things,” please email dennis@lansingcitypulse.com.)

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