Reflection on Walk #35, Yr 2, 8/6/16: Saturday morning, August 6, 2016, at 7 a.m. five mindfulness walkers strolled the Granite Park sports and entertainment complex on Cedar between Ashlan and Dakota, then through neighborhoods, seeing churches, schools, and winding back along the canal from MIllbrook to Cedar near Dakota.
Walkers shared how much they enjoyed the walk along the canal. Even though there is trash and most houses that back up to the canal have signs of neglect, some with large dogs barking, the walk with water sounds and coolness was enjoyable. Walkers were surprised to see a mobile home park backed up to the canal near Millbrook and Dakota –walkers hadn’t noticed it before. Walkers talked with excitement about Fresno’s plans to create walking paths along the canal that will connect 17 miles of Fresno trails with Clovis trails. (Trails coming in 2017.)
Sights: Numerous churches including old churches, two Armenian churches across the street from the Serbian church. Tree lined streets, middle class houses and pockets of apartments. Walkers estimated that 2/3 of the homes showed some neglect. Apartments, Centennial Elementary School, one yard sale, some front yard fences, yard maintenance workers and work trucks and trailers, Walkers noticed some blocks had many cats and then the next block dogs. Many cars parked in driveways and on the street. Mostly older model cars. One large work truck had a baby seat in the front cab. Dead lawns either from neglect or water saving efforts. Cats scurrying. American flags. Front yard art and front yard seating. A few residents out watering with a hose. Homemade wheel-chair ramps leading to front doors. Walkers did not see children out playing (still early). People out exercising – walking, running, bike riding, dog walking. People were preparing for the memorial service of long-time Fresno community member and optometrist, Bill Weber, at Trinity Lutheran Church.
Walkers watched a man lay out his bedding and lie down to sleep on the grass strip along along First Street near the Armenian church. One walker mentioned that while this was right out in plain sight in daylight, it may also be safer for a person who doesn’t have a place to live to sleep in plain sight. Walkers also saw a number of people who looked unkept and as if they were on the move, carrying their belongings.
The Granite Park complex was vacant this morning. Walkers walked throughout the complex. Walkers saw both signs of life and signs of neglect. A maintenance team with truck and trailers were pruning and cleaning. There were twinkle lights wrapped around trees, and tables and chairs stacked under the patios. An outdoor ceiling fan was rotating. A large bin was mounded with trash ready to be hauled away. Trash and dry weeds lined the walkway out to the baseball fields. The sports fields seemed to be waiting for action! One large wall at the back of a baseball diamond was half painted with the forklift left in position. Closer to Cedar Avenue, Yosemite Falls restaurant was serving large breakfast dishes to full tables of early morning customers.
After walking the usual NS and EW grid of streets, walkers were surprised by a large expanse of grass and trees that cut through at an angle between Millbrook and First and Ashlan and Dakota. Walkers wondered how this strip of green space came to be here. (If anyone knows, please share. You can see this on the Google map at at 3497 E. Sussex Way, Fresno.)
Sounds: leaves crunching under foot, birds, low-flying loud airplanes, yard equipment-blowers, lawn mowers, edge trimmers, traffic, dogs barking, water flowing in canal, sprinklers, dishes and talking through open windows. Moments of peace and quiet on tree lined streets. Traffic. Loud engines and tires burning rubber of two classic cars at Cedar and Dakota.
Pausing in the turn lane at Cedar, two old classic cars with loud engines caused a young landscaper to put down his yard equipment and take a picture with his phone.
A Fresno Bee paper deliverer was riding his bike and throwing papers on driveways. With so many paper deliverers driving, it was a pleasant surprise for walkers to see papers delivered by bike. One resident was out front doing yard work, and the bicyclist handed him his paper. Walkers mentioned that the Fresno Bee had recently stopped print in Fresno and moved the printing to Sacramento. Will this delay the delivery of the morning paper?
Smells: walkers did not mention any specific smells.
Trees: Lee Ayres, the Executive Director of Tree Fresno, was a walker this morning and shared some thoughts about trees in this neighborhood. Lee shared that the neighborhood just west of Trinity Lutheran church has one of the few collections of Holly Oak trees. Holly Oaks are too large to line neighborhood streets, and they have been pruned inconsistently or neglected. Holly Oaks are better for parks and large areas. All walkers talked about the importance of trees and how neighborhoods can benefit by working together on tree choice, planning consider the long-term consequences and benefits. Tree Fresno offers lists of trees that are best in the Valley and best for urban neighborhoods.
While walking on First Street, walkers noticed medical offices and clinics that serve low-income residents. Walkers mentioned the move of medical offices to the north of Shaw in the 80s, after the hospitals also moved north.
Walkers talked about how quickly a neighborhood can shift from well-kept to neglected. Walkers enjoyed positive elements of front yards and well-kept homes. Walkers also discussed areas of neglect, and how families, many led by single parents or seniors on fixed incomes, can struggle even if employed full time, to maintain a home. Even with full time employment, there is little to no extra money for yard maintenance, tree pruning, new roofs, updated landscaping, and paint. Cars in driveways also showed signs of age.
Political signs: Walkers saw a few local signs, less than a handful for Brand and Perea. Walkers noticed there were NO signs or bumper stickers for Clinton or Trump. However, walkers saw two signs for Bernie Sanders, one of which was hand made.
These are our brothers and sisters in Fresno. All of our lives and futures are tied together.
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