REFLECTION Walk #16, Yr 2, Jan 23, 2016. Walkers started at the Little Tea Leaf shop and headed south toward Bullard High.
Walkers noticed the following things: a line of Eucalyptus trees, gated communities, a few abandoned shopping carts, and mail boxes (for mail only 8 to 5 pm). They saw puddles, oranges, flowing water, bamboo, a person sleeping on a porch not far from Bullard High (surpisingly), a few homes with five or six cars parked in front, an abundance of American flags, lots of fences/gates/barriers that were built years ago, new buildings, Oso de Oro park, and completion of a disability kids’ pool at Bullard High. Walkers did not see shrines to people who died, loose dogs, or barbed wire/razor wire.
Many walkers had never seen Rata High School for special needs students or the Rata garden. One Walker was very happy to see outdoor swings back at Rata. These “full body” swings for students in wheel chairs had been removed at one point because swings weren’t “age appropriate.” This Walker was glad to see they had been reinstalled.
One Walker shared a memory of a fence that divided Gibson and Bullard. She remembered standing by this fence when she heard that President John F. Kennedy was shot.
Walkers heard the sounds of birds, puddles, water running, announcements from swim meets at Bullard High, laughing kids, rain on umbrellas, splashing, birds at Oso de Oro Park, traffic, loud tires on water, the loud hum of an electrical station next to Tenaya, tires in rain and also complete silence, and geese–no music playing or roosters crowing.
Walkers smelled fresh air, oranges, fragrant incense, perfumes, the rain-heightened scents of plants, donuts, new carpet inside the new Bullard High building, and full trash bins.
Some Walkers mentioned that they went to a school nearby and taught at that school as well. Another Walker was married at NorthWest Church. This Walker was surprised at how much had changed at the church. One Walker grew up in the neighborhood and had her baby shower 37 years ago in a front room of a house that we passed.
While a few Walkers sampled the goods at a unique new donut shop called Donut Fantasy, one Walker went ahead and spent at least ten minutes meditating in front of RATA High School. The school had been there for 35 years in the area – but the area hadn’t stayed as pristine as it used to be; homes were showing some signs of neglect, and this was surprising because the area USED to be THE neighborhood in which to live.
Walkers used these words to describe this walk: history, dead ends, sentimental, wet, dark, and vibrant with colors because of the rain.
Things that were invisible to walkers before: a person sleeping on a porch, the experience of walking close to fences that you don’t see when you are driving by, the inability to avoid the major streets and explore the area. History remains in the area, but it used to have more open fields and many paths to cut through, but now those pathways are gone.
At the end of the walk, walkers gathered at the Grape Tray, and Michael allowed Walkers to sit at the big wooden table at the front of the store, among the wine bottles, and discuss the walk.
These are our brothers and sisters of Fresno, and all of our lives and our futures are tied together.Uncategorized