Reflection: Walk #12, Yr. 2, Saturday, December 19, 2015, began at the corner of McKinley and First on a very rainy cold morning. The Dry Creek Shopping Center parking lot was waking up with cars and walkers through the parking lot. Three mindfulness walkers braved the weather with umbrellas. This walk covered neighborhoods that are cradled between three freeways: 41 to the west, 180 to the south, and 168 to the east.
All three Walkers agreed with the perspective of one walker: “This was a really interesting walk mainly because while I am wet and cold now, I know I will warm up soon. This helps me understand what people are going through outside in this weather.” Walkers were aware of our cold, wet, thirsty discomfort – because we were acutely aware that the people we encountered on the street experience this all the time. This is how it feels for the people we met today, they never get dry hands, feet, legs in weather like this.
Before leaving the Dry Creek Shopping Center, Walkers met James and told us his dog was named Erin Marie. He stood with his cart piled with bedding and personal belongings. James was huddled under the walkway overhang of the 99 Center Store. When Walkers returned 1 1/12 hours later, James was still there. Walkers gave him an umbrella and a $10 gift certificate to Carl’s Jr. Before Walkers drove out of the parking lot, James was walking into the Carl’s Jr.
Walkers rounded the corner onto Home Ave. and saw Mayfair Elementary School. Walkers enjoy walking school grounds whenever possible, but the school was fenced and locked. The neighborhoods to the east were older quaint Fresno homes with unique features, porches, and landscaping –older model cars and interesting mailboxes. Many with front yard seating. There were a number of empty homes, and boarded up homes, and even burned out homes surrounded in chain linked fencing. Walkers were able to walk into the back yard of one of the burned out homes because the fencing had been pulled aside. Walkers stood silently absorbing the feelings of a burned out house. A small stuffed animal lay soaked in rain water.
Sounds: Roosters, traffic, rain, leaves crunching, tires splashing through deep puddles. Water flowing was a new and much welcomed sound.
Walkers met Mario at Trinity Development Center at McKinley and Millbrook. Mario and this group give out food two Saturdays a month. People come at 5 a.m. for food distribution at 8 a.m. Mario told us they get long lines early because they give out meats (frozen) which most places don’t. Mario told Walkers that God supplies all this, he is just the vessel.
Walkers walked along the McKinley canal, which is a dirt path. This morning it was muddy and slippery. Walkers talked about how nice it was to walk next to a canal full of water! We had walked plenty of dry empty canals. Along the canal, Walkers met Daniel and Jesus who told us they were checking on a woman living under a blue tarp. Daniel told us that she’s choosing to live here right now, even though she has parents with a house nearby. They didn’t feel comfortable telling us her name or her specific circumstances. The woman never came out while we were there. Daniel and Walkers recognized each other because we had met on a previous walk near Fresno Art Museum. Daniel showed us his nice black backpack which was zipped under his sweatshirt. He showed us that this was how he kept his resume dry.
One Walker knew someone who had lived on Barton back in the 70s, and he went to McLane High school. Back then, it was a really nice neighborhood, but his family moved because of the 168 highway coming through.
Floradora is an unusual street with train tracks going down the middle. The streets, curbs, and sidewalks are in bad condition. With the rain, many corners were flooding. We walked along the back side of Tehipite Middle School, and saw apartment complexes, some well kept, and some in need of repairs and cleaning. See the Facebook photo album for Walk #12, Yr 2, for pictures of Floradora.
Walkers wondered if there’s a neighborhood revitalization effort for this neighborhood. Is this neighborhood called Mayfair?
FMWalkers just happened to be in the right place at the right time to see guys from FEDEX Freight delivering gifts to a mom and her son. There were no cameras, no FedEx media team. They told us this was employee –driven, and with help from United Way, they chose two families to take care of this Christmas. Walkers were so moved and thankful we got to witness this quiet act of kindness.
These neighborhoods are filled with our brothers and sisters in Fresno. All of our lives and futures are tied together.Uncategorized