Walk #43 Reflection – On a beautiful Saturday morning, four Fresno Mindfulness Walkers started at Sequoia Middle School near Cedar and Butler. As soon as we parked, we met Principal Matt Ward. We chatted and told him about FMW.
Walkers described the walk these ways: a surprise around every corner, signs of past prosperity, eclectic, and National Geographic. A FMWalker said that she had been taught to fear these neighborhoods but now sees they seem safe and filled with family life. People here care for their houses, gardens, children, etc.
One Walker moved away from Fresno 11 years ago and is back visiting. She loved this walk. This walk was culture shock for her. It was refreshing for her to see such diversity, uniqueness, and interesting individual expression. Even with the grittiness of the neighborhoods, she missed Fresno. It was fascinating to see socio economic conditions, landscapes, trees, pit bulls, chihuahuas, gardens, and unique and mature landscaping mixed with neglected properties.
We met Zeek who was cleaning weeds from his side yard. He moved into the house owned by his parents since the 80s. He said things were much safer now, and he measured that by fewer gunshots. He used to hear daily gunfire –now only around New Years and major holidays and close to midnight. He credited the Fresno Police with improving the safety. He enjoys walking these neighborhoods regularly, and he expressed optimism about the neighborhood,
One surprise around a corner: after walking through a distraught alley, we came to a T, and turned to see walls and fences of graffiti and then a beautiful sprawling house and property, dating back to Fresno’s better days, with well-kept, spotless windows, and manicured lawns.
Walkers talked about specific things they observed:
Sights: the variety of homes, styles, colors, conditions, in contrast to track homes in other neighborhoods. Only one house for sale. Many alarms, barred windows and doors, barbed wire fences, chain linked fences. Large lots with wide streets. Small houses and then large plantation style homes and properties. One street of older homes had cul-de-sacs of newer track style homes right across the street. Old, knotted trees, trash, mattresses, abandoned shopping carts.
Sounds: chickens, roosters, traffic, train, barking dogs, raspy dogs, birds, doves, Spanish music, rap music, children’s voices inside houses.
Smells: near a busy intersection, restaurant food. Jasmine, then trash smells, dog excrement, then jasmine again.
Feelings: one walker expressed exhilaration at exploring Fresno like this. It was nice to be out of predictable comfort zones. Walkers felt sale.
Back at Sequoia Middle School, Principal Matt Ward and teams of student volunteers were planting trees and upgrading landscaping. The kids were working hard and having fun at the same time. Some of the kid volunteers said they were from other schools and were there helping with the project.
This walk had so much to take in; we wished there had been 10 walkers.
These are our brothers and sisters in Fresno, and all of our lives and futures are tied together.
Facebook photo album: https://www.facebook.com/pg/fresnomindfulnesswalks/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1610662592553822
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