Walking neighborhoods all over Fresno is a way to ‘get out of our comfort zones.’ Instead of thinking about Fresno just from our own perspectives, routes, and friends, FMWalkers gain a better understanding of all the people and conditions of our city. In a year of walks, FMWalkers can see and experience all 110 square miles of Fresno first hand. Being in close proximity to different people and their circumstances is a way to increases empathy and understanding, allowing walkers to engage with their city in helpful ways that are based on real information, as opposed to assumptions and stereotypes.
Saturday morning, Jan 13, 2018, at 9:30, 18 mindfulness walkers gathered at the Figarden Loop Park on the curve near the tracks between Brawley and Bullard (Walk 33 Yr 3 – or Walk # 137!) Welcome to new walkers: Russell, Jack, Leona, Vicki, and Debbie! Happy to see regular walkers: Pat, Rachel, Brenda, Mary, Beth, Sheila, Kathryn, Carrol, and the family of walkers, Chris, Heather, Jonathan and Chloe!
Observations: Wonderful to see flowers, roses and birds of paradise. Drought tolerant landscaping with fake grass. New housing development with beautifully manicured landscaping. Lots of citrus trees loaded. Birds nests visible in stark tree. Great park for children and families, and sports teams.Lots of playground equipment and picnic tables.
Inside the neighborhood pockets were pleasantly quiet, but within a few steps there was loud traffic noise.Boy Scouts of America headquarters are beautiful building and landscaping. A number of people out walking or running for exercise. Lots of olive trees, which are messy, in an area that use to be full of fig orchards. Noticed fewer dogs barking than on other walks. Large electrical plant near houses and apartments – constant loud buzzing and ‘danger’ signs.
Walkers talked about getting a close look at unsightly areas, belongings and trash which results from people living in the
open (homelessness). We read about it and might not see it in our day to day, but it’s out here and we saw it first it hand. For a Saturday, there was a noticeable absence of kids playing outside (however families with young children were arriving at the park as we left). Sad to see children’s toys in the trash by railroad tracks. So much trash thrown over block wall fence of the tracks.
Noticed construction and remodeling at Fig Garden Elementary School. Compared to other neighborhoods, there were fewer front porches and front yard seating areas – maybe less opportunities for people to know and visit with their neighbors. Inside a newer development, the street curved with a sign that read ‘END END END’ – when it wasn’t really the end, but to deliberately limited ‘through traffic’. Walkers benefited from a sidewalk that cut through from one development to the next allowing for pedestrians and children walking to school to go through the neighborhood. Walkers were surprised to see a neighborhood entrance sign that read ‘no trespassing’, when it wasn’t a gated community. Can you do that?
Walkers discussed poor planning and layout of streets and developments, with old and new right next to each other with blocks of neglected vacant lots full of tumble weeds, dirt piles, and trash. Walkers witnessed how close people live to railroad tracks, the sound and the trash and visible evidence of people living out in the open in sadly desperate circumstances. Walkers saw a train coming slowly in the distance and felt the nervousness and anxiety of being near a dangerous situation — thought of the people who live near here all the time with children and pets.
Walkers tried peering through the one-way mirror windows of the large building of LifeWay baptist church. The door opened and walkers met Pastor Daryl who stood in the doorway and told walkers the story of the church moving to this location. The church has about 10 acres but has only developed the area within the black rod iron fence.
A new walker shared that this walk makes her realize how much she doesn’t pay attention to what’s around her so much of the time – but this new awareness will help!
One walker shared: “We did a Fresno Mindfulness Walks in a neighborhood we were use to. We always go to the cub scout store, baseball park, went house shopping over there 5 years ago, and know a friend friends that live over there. It’s interesting when you just drive by you miss so much….. It’s kind of nice not to talk…. I never knew interesting stuff could be around that area.”
See the Facebook photo album for all the photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2090512164568860.1073741983.1429474537339296&type=1&l=b0d874ae0c
Google photo album here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/rXfpi1yeJsWhVJD12