Reflection Walk #11, Yr 2: Saturday, Dec 12, 2015, 8:30 am, six FMWalkers began at Herndon and West, then walked north through neighborhoods and along wide streets with large homes on the bluffs that have views north across the San Joaquin River below.
Words used to describe this walk: peaceful, peace and quiet, manicured yards, economic contrasts, housing and landscaping style differences, exclusive, friendly, “the most upscale Fresno neighborhood I’ve ever been in.”
Sights: morning steam, falling leaves, vivid colors of red, yellow, green and blue, locked gates in front of houses, decorative fencing/gates/security, cul de sacs, thick bushes, trucks and SUVs, people raking leaves, large redwoods, elevation changes, lush green landscaping (compared to many brown yards in other neighborhoods), only one or two brown yards, artificial grass, solar panels, joggers, dog walkers, dogs always on leashes, individually gated properties, gates carports, Christmas and holiday decorations, private pocket park, Nelson Elementary, duplexes across from Nelson.
Did not see… Veteran walkers often talk about what they did not see compared to other walks: abandoned shopping carts, visible trash piles, children, loose dogs, loudly barking dogs behind chain link fences, cats, squirrels, churches, alleys.
Sounds: water down storm drain, voices, water trickle of fountains, only 3 dogs barking from behind fences, crunching leaves, leaf blowers, airplane, birds, fire truck siren, no roosters or chickens.
Smells: fireplace burning wood, wet grass – no food smells.
Feelings: FMWalkers reflected that these upscale neighborhoods could be gated, but they are not. On the other hand, the view and the access to the river (80 feet below) is blocked by private homes. Walkers also talked about the lush landscaping that was clearly watered. One walker mentioned that her apartment complex and most homes in her neighborhood are brown. Walkers talked to a resident of this neighborhood who said these houses are not on meters, so his yard and big trees received water. It was interesting that FMWalkers described this walk with the words “friendly” and “exclusive.”
Walkers talked about the obvious delineation of neighborhoods from custom homes to track homes near Nelson Elementary. Changes included wide streets with no sidewalks to narrower streets with sidewalks. More cars and work trucks in driveways and along curbs. More brown lawns. Few dogs barking at walkers from behind wooden fences. Walkers talked about the benefits of housing affordability options (large custom homes, smaller track homes, and duplexes for sale or rent) all within a few mile walk.
FMWalkers talked about the contrasts between weekly walks. Dogs are a regular conversation topic. On this walk, we saw well-groomed dogs walked on leashes. On many walks, dogs are used as security, and they run and bark at Walkers from behind front yard fences. Walkers talked about the anxiety it causes when walking by barking dogs, and how many, if not most Fresno neighborhoods, have front yard dogs barking loudly next to the sidewalk or street.
FMWalkers met a resident, Larry Pickens, who was in his front yard and greeted us warmly. Larry lives near the end of the road that overlooks the San Joaquin River. Larry said his house was the 3rd built and that this neighborhood is the original ‘Bluffs.’ FMWalkers immediately noticed the amazing artwork in Larry’s yard, and he told us the story of the art and then invited all six of us into his backyard to see his artwork and meet his dog, Oreo. Larry has commissioned pieces from artists around the world and locally. He showed us two large pieces by Clement Renzi. Larry shared his thoughts on opening the river to public access, the pros and cons. He told us of the plans to create a paved walkway along the river. Larry is supportive of public access to the river because “it’s good for the city.” However, he also expressed concerns about traffic and parking, and concerns about public using BBQs because of the steep dry cliff coming up to houses on the bluffs. One walker talked about the wonderful walkway along the American River in Sacramento and thought Fresno could have something similar. Walkers appreciated his warm welcome to his home.
These are our brothers and sisters in Fresno. All of our lives and futures are tied together.This entry was posted in Uncategorized