REFLECTION Walk #39, Yr 2 from Victoria West Park. Saturday, September 4, 2016, at 7:30 am, a dozen Mindfulness Walkers began at Victoria West Park at the corner of Clinton and Brawley. Soccer coaches were chalking the fields. Singles and pairs of walkers could be seen coming and going from the park, some men in white flowing tunics, and some runners with leashed dogs. Walkers crossed Brawley after the enormous SaveMart grocery store and began winding through neighborhoods to the west.
Sights: churches, many different religions represented, front yard religions statues/shrines, monotone house colors in new development compared to colorful variety of older homes. Wide variety of residential styles all within a three mile route –ranch styles, tiny older homes, well-kept, new stucco development, shacks, abandoned cars and boats, new cars on pull-through driveways. SaveMart was just a short distance from a small market named Liquor Bank. Sheets drying on clothes lines. Some yards fully enclosed in fences with front yard dogs. Mix of small dogs as pets and larger dogs as security. Roses in pinks and reds. Bird feeders. Front yard seating and decorations. The large Buddhist temple with an acre of walking paths and white statues. Horse corral with three gallping beauties who stopped to stare us down. Small home gardens. Sheds and workshops on large properties. Open spaces between neighborhoods and lush crops, empty fields, and mature trees. A few busy yard sales and pickups with families in the front and yard-sale finds in the back. Repeat walkers commented that there was less trash on this walk as compared to other walks.
Walkers described these neighborhoods as patch-work. Maybe farmers sold to developers over time. Dead end streets and stop and start of fields and neighborhoods. A look at the City of Fresno boundary map, and walkers can see that these are the west most boundaries of Fresno limits that mix with blocks of county or unincorporated areas.
Smells: bacon and eggs and breakfast smells, cookies baking, horse /ranch/farm/pasture manure smells.
Sounds: car music, dogs barking, yapping, rooster, bird noises, horse galloping, soft sound of walkers’ shoes on dirt, busy traffic, squeeky swings at Victoria park, buzz of bees, bell at the school, Marty’s walking stick click. Walkers were surprised not to hear lawnmowers or blowers.
Walkers met a family having a yard sale, and the woman told us they were moving and proudly told us they were finally able to by a house. Walkers met Helen sitting on her front porch enjoying the morning. Walkers could smell fresh baked desserts, and Helen told us she had cookies and pineapple upside down cake in the oven. Helen had a life-size cutout of a cowboy in her front yard and told walkers this was her boyfriend, George Strait.
Walkers met husband and wife, Juan and Mary Lou, cleaning and tending to Templo Bethel, a small neighborhood church. They told us they are the younger members of the congregation and do the cleaning and yard work every Saturday morning to prepare for Sunday services.
Each walker shared a different aspect or observation that stood out on this walk:
The car that drove by with front windshield caved in.
One walkers felt safer and was able to observe more than on previous walks because she was less concerned about the dogs. Dogs here were smaller or were more confined and not as threatening to walkers. Walker shared she had been bitten by a dog and is now more alert to the danger.
Walking through a neighborhood with chain linked fences and security cameras indicates there may be crime even if we don’t see it. This may increase the feelings of alarm or fear.
One walker shared she has friends who look at the map of walk routes and say they are afraid to walk certain areas of Fresno. The Walker described it as a fear of the unknown. This walker enjoys seeing unfamiliar places. She described it as cool to get out and see and she wishes that for everybody.
Walkers repeatedly used the word diversity to sum up this walk. Many different religions, people in ethnic clothing, various styles of music, numerous languages spoken.
First time walkers talked about the challenge of not talking, but enjoyed the quiet and time to think, even if waiting under a tree as a group, walkers appreciated the time to notice details often missed when talking.
Walkers described these as working class neighborhoods. Many houses and yards have ‘collections’ of unfinished projects similar to where he grew up. Walkers noticed graffiti on wall that said NSF. Walkers noticed the blue sky and cloud formations. Noticed absence of children playing in the streets.
Walkers enjoyed walking McKinley Elementary school and reading motivational signs by the students. A walker particularly noticed the signs showing parent involvement.
Walkers described seeing collections people have on their properties, not as stuff, but as collections of pots, or cars, or furnishings, even dogs — that ‘five’ of something is a collection.
At the end of the walk, Walkers enjoyed the youth soccer teams and parents filling up Victory Park. Excited children in matching uniforms huddled and talked and wiggled, waiting for games to start, as parents lined the edge with coffee, blankets, snacks, and folding chairs.
To see inside Templo Bethel, Helen’s cut out of George Strait, and crowded Victory West Park, see the Facebook photo album for Walk #39, Year 2.Uncategorized