I went back to the neighborhood surrounding Jane Cooper School the other day at dusk to get some pictures of just how barren it is.

That's someone's weave dangling mournfully in the brush.

Remember that every one of those blocks would, at one time, have been filled with homes. Here is an aerial photo from 1961, followed by the current satellite image of the same general area. A few years ago there were still several houses scattered throughout these streets, but the city spent almost $15 million to clear the people out and prepare the land for industrial development that still hasn't taken place. To the north and west of this area, there are several operating (and even bustling) industrial sites, as seen in the second photo. Still, the transition is shocking:

I was with the dog, and we roused about a dozen pheasants walking through those old blocks and even encountered a two-member dog pack (a BIG rottweiler---I got a distant shot of him for my "wild dogs whom I have known" series even though my hand was trembling like crazy---and a BIG German shepherd). I picked up a stick but they turned out not to be much of a threat, retreating to hide in the brush and bark at us. My German Shorthaired Pointer got so excited every time we roused a pheasant, he sounded like those snakehandling Pentecostals.

Everywhere I bring that dog in Detroit, older black people approach me and say in a Southern drawl, "He's a birddog, huh?" We get to talking and it turns out that decades ago they moved up here from rural North Carolina or someplace like that. They have stories of hunting birds back there with tick-coated dogs like mine, and they all have stories of moving up to Detroit because of the promise of a good job with a decent wage and then they inevitably have stories about how many years they worked on the line before they were laid off. Sometimes these old timers even tell me about children who've moved to Charlotte or Atlanta for jobs. But all we need to do is look around us to know where their own story will end: a place not so different from where it began, a quasi-rural landscape of poverty and hopelessness, where birddogs trill at the stacatto of a pheasant's wings echoing off the ruins.