REFLECTION Walk #29, Yr 2: April 30, 2016, from Blackstone/Ashlan. On this walk, Walkers saw train tracks, cats, incredible homes they never knew existed, cinderblock homes near tracks, Ashlan Avenue, dramatic changes in socio-economic conditions, Palm, Blackstone, the mail center at Griffith Station, and baby geese toddling with their mothers beside a ponding basin. Walkers also saw Del Mar Elementary and PowersGinsberg Elementary, several homeless encampments, the Glen apartments, Fresno State President Castro’s residence, a fence opening into the back of apartments, a smashed grocery cart on the tracks, a geo-cache on a corner, a wrist-watch-and-bottle-cap-decorated pole, big dogs, little dogs, loudly barking German Shepherds, and yard sales. Walkers noticed multiple cars parked in driveways, different types of dogs, graffiti, a few boarded-up houses, brightly painted houses, trash along the tracks, and a dead bird. The Asia Supermarket just opened, so Walkers explored the wonders and variety inside the new store and met store manager, Moua, and his father, Mr. Lee.
Walkers paid attention to the smells of jasmine, honeysuckle, a Mexican restaurant, a fishy aroma, an old truck’s exhaust, a gasoline blower, and the metallic smell of the train tracks.
Walkers heard the sounds of roosters, baby birds, squirrels, branches, a variety of high and low dog barks, the Spanish language being spoken inside a house and among workers and painters on a front lawn, kitchen dishes, and wind chimes.
Walkers reported that they felt peaceful, curious, nervous by the train tracks, and anxious in a few of the neighborhoods; however, they felt safer in a group.
Walkers recalled seeing a teen boy and girl selling flowers on a street corner and wondered if there was cause for concern–to whom do they report and give their profits from sales?
One Walker met Cheryl and her dog, Bruce, by a convenience store. She was drinking a can of something inside a brown bag and needed money for cigarettes. A Walker also met George, who drove by in his well-worn blue pick-up truck. He asked why Walkers had been looking at his truck in his driveway. The Walkers explained that they were intrigued by his beautiful religious displays. George was incredibly friendly and kind–and happy to make the acquaintance of the Walkers.
Walkers also met Bob. He was hand-watering his planters, and Walkers asked about his empty pool. Bob explained he was on a fixed income and the repairs were going to take a few years due to the costs. Bob owns a business on Blackstone.
At the end of the walk, one Walker commented that he had been “asleep” but now felt more “awake.” He had lived in Fresno and Madera but had not seen these neighborhoods. He noted the differences in the houses and neighborhoods within blocks of each other.
Another Walker had just returned from teaching in Cambodia. She remarked that it was so interesting to walk in a different part of Fresno and see it through a different lens, that there were many things to experience right here in Fresno.
These are our brothers and sisters in Fresno. All of our lives and futures are tied together.
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