REFLECTION Walk #23, March 12, 2016. Walkers started at Susan B Anthony Elementary School, near Blackstone Olive. Some of the words Walkers used to describe this walk were fresh, diversity, surprising, cool water, contrasts, lively, community, mixed emotions, and friendly.
Walkers saw a playground built directly under the freeway, homeless people under the freeway, the Ted C. Wills Center and all the activity around youth basketball, a Universal Church, occasional brightly colored homes, decks that were built out over the canal, water flowing, a gated community on Blackstone, a school carnival, artwork by railroad tracks, children, pain of a man making a large heart with rocks beside the railroad tracks, in memory of his wife who had a seizure and died by the tracks, many dogs, a motorcyclist, and a man fixing car.
Walkers met a lady and her five children who lived right next to the train tracks, and she said the trains roll by several times a day. They saw a precious couple walking–he was paralyzed and in a wheel chair being pushed by his wife. They try to get out every day.
Walkers met Fresno State student volunteers working at the carnival at Anthony Elementary. Several tall volleyball players walked into the carnival as we passed through it. Many people happily sat on benches at the carnival and watched while their children participated in the games and bounce houses. It felt like community, with open gates today for the fun.
Walkers heard the sounds of roosters, rushing water, barking dogs, traffic, music, loud motorcycles by the playground under the freeway, the echo hum of traffic overhead, loud music, blowers, mowers, mechanical sounds, machinery, remodeling and construction sounds.
Walkers smelled popcorn, pancakes, freshness, greenery, citrus blossoms, lavender, rosemary, wet grass smell, and mowed grass.
Walkers felt these things were new or surprising: charming homes in this area, presence of Lowell community school and community, apparent revitalization, vibrancy to the area, churches, community center for all the things that make a life – Ted C Wills, Youth Center, Dickey Park, Youth For Christ, and Head Start. Walkers wondered where people shopped for groceries and fresh food. Walkers noticed an original DiCiccos, ClayMix where one can make bowls – Empty Bowls, murals, so many used car lots, a pharmacy closed, Clinica Sierra Vista, beautifully landscapd for doctors’ offices – pallets of bricks new construction next to CRMC. VASA at bacck of Ted C Will.
There was an uncomfortable moment for one Walker. As she talked to a gentleman on a porch, he warned her about where not to go in the neighborhood, to be careful and stay in a group–and the walking group had already disappeared around the corner. Another Walker said she was not going to let fear keep her out of any neighborhood.
These are our brothers and sisters in Fresno, and all of our lives and our futures are tied together.