REFLECTION: Walk #36, Yr 2, Saturday, August 13, 2016, at 7 a.m. Seven mindfulness walkers began at Manchester Mall, Shields and Blackstone, and walked west along the canal that winds through neighborhoods. Walkers took Van Ness, looped through Circle Drive, stepped through a fence opening to walk along the tracks, and then under the tracks at Maroa and Shields. At Gazebo Gardens, walkers crossed and strolled neighborhoods and then back again along the tracks to Shields and Blackstone.
Walkers reflected on their observations and described what they were thankful for, what surprised them, and what concerned them on this walk.
Walkers were thankful for the cool morning air, the long walk along the full canal, sounds of flowing water, families of ducks, the greenery, flowers, birds, and the abundance of fruit, nut, and vegetables growing in front yards and along the walk. One walker expressed appreciation for the streets of small affordable homes that are within walking distance of restaurants and retail shopping.
Walkers were surprised at the long stretch of canal walking paths, the pedestrian bridges crossing the canal, the neighborhood streets that ended with walkups to the canal, and the beautiful stretch of wildflowers planted along the canal walkway. Walkers enjoyed the beautiful homes, yards, and mature trees along Van Ness. Some walkers were surprised at Circle Drive, describing the tasteful and neat homes tucked among mature landscaping. One house was undergoing major landscaping and cement work in a beautiful pattern of walkways and drought-tolerant plantings.
Walkers expressed concern about a number of people sleeping outside or wandering with armloads of belongings. Walkers were concerned about the couple sleeping in sleeping bags at the side of the canal walkway. Walkers were saddened by the amount of trash in the streets, along back fences, along the canal walkway, and floating in the canal. Walkers were concerned about the graffiti on fences, buildings, and walls along the tracks. Walkers were concerned about a number of abandoned and boarded-up homes. Walkers expressed concern about one specific boarded up house with a fence board missing and a window frame pushed to the side – signs that people may be finding shelter inside this abandoned home. Walkers were concerned about papers scattered along Shields avenue that included pamphlets for mental health services and personal safety tips.
Walkers ended the walk in the shade of Manchester Mall and talked about how Manchester Mall is one of a number of cooling centers around Fresno. Residents can ride a Fresno FAX bus for free to a cooling center on hot days.
For all the photos from this walk, see the FB photo album for Walk #36, Yr 2.
Wrap-up thought: These are our brothers and sisters in Fresno. All of our lives and futures are tied together.