REFLECTION Walk #17, Yr 2. Jan 30, 2016. Walkers started at the Betty Rodriguez Library, near McLane High School, and noticed a canal near McKinley blocked with fences, cactus as natural barbed wire, two zero-scapes, protection with fences all around, brick fences or chain linked for protection, dogs for security, chained up dogs, American flags, Christmas decor, Valentine hearts on trees, Christmas lights still on, cats on porches, a dead cat, small memorials, boarded-up houses that had burned down, graffiti, trash, unique things, cultural aspects, Asian-looking signs and symbols, and other cultural influences.
Walkers heard the sounds of roosters, doves, friendly people saying hello, and roofers working with shingles.
Walkers noted the smells of waffles, brownies, incense by apartments, dampness, mustiness, BBQ meat, and rosemary.
Walkers experienced heavy feelings, of struggle, and the story from Jose was hard to hear. Jose lived right next door to an abandoned home that burned down. Homeless people often slept in the home at night. One night someone boarded up the only exit to the home while the homeless people were sleeping inside, and then these “arsonists lit the house on fire at the sealed exit. Everyone inside perished. Jose remembers hearing the screams of the woman inside. He felt helpless, as he was unable to help her while she cried for help–and then there was only silence until the fire fighters arrived. He talked about her family that lived nearby, and the woman decided to remain homeless in spite of their offers for help… Walkers spent several moments standing beside a makeshift memorial at the base of a tall tree. It was in honor of the homeless people who died in the fire. Walkers read tributes on small cards attached to dried flowers in vases, beside candles with Jesus and saints on the outside, and stuffed animals left in honor of the dead. Walkers were stunned and deeply saddened by this story.
Walkers discussed what was invisible that is now visible:
1) Cultural details seen at each house and the uniqueness of each one, houses that represent individuals
2) People with living areas in the front yards – even on busy Cedar Street
3) Sense of lives disrupted because of things that people left in haste – daily disruptions – constant disruptions in peoples lives
4) Signs of spring – looks like people try to spruce things up, green grass from the rain
5) A fire read about in a small paragraph in the Bee–and the reality of seeing the memorial for the dead and hearing the story of the woman trapped in the burning house
These are our brothers and sisters in Fresno, and all of our lives and our futures are tied together.