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Friday, January 15, 2021

Walking the Past

Labyrinth
Sebastopol, California

Towards the end of yesterday's walk in the city park, I searched for the labyrinth. The same labyrinth, I had walked many years ago during a creative visioning workshop I attended. In the workshop, we spent hours cutting pictures out of stacks of magazines to arrange a collage for our vision. After arranging the pieces, we glued them onto a poster board to take home. I remember my collage had a tiger along with beach scenes, probably of Hawaii. During the afternoon of the day long workshop, beginning at the outside of the circle, we walked our vision along the labyrinth. I remember walking, losing myself in a deep meditation, following my feet around the swirling path until I reached the middle of the circle.

Yesterday, I found the middle of the labyrinth near the community building, the painted stones and words were covered in faded orange fallen leaves. Nearby, two robins flew back and forth landing on a large rock near a bench overlooking the small city park. On the street facing the park, a row of at least twenty beat up RVs, old school buses, passenger vans, and cars with the backseats pulled out for makeshift beds formed a caravan. The parked vehicles, all with their windows covered in pieces of curtain, fabric and magnetic felt boards. One young woman in her thirties was folding her laundry, placing it neatly back in her car trunk. 

Last time, I checked, the affordable housing list was an 8-10 year wait. The not so lucky "displaced" residents, the locals who cannot afford a vehicle to sleep in,  set up tent camps in the interior of the city park, in the mud, near the fence line of the dairy pastures I posted a photo of on yesterday's blog. 

I am thinking, I would be a more honest photographer if I started taking photos of our wildlife along with what else is happening under the trees and near the water lines of our community here in one of the wealthiest places in the world. I don't want to invade people's privacy by taking photos of their encampments. If I can do it with respect, the same kind of respect I treat our nature and animals, then, I will forge ahead with my camera and writing. With Scott, I did sleep in a tent and a van during the summer for over three months, we were displaced, but we were not destitute. So I cannot understand completely, the experience of what I am seeing. I can only try to understand it as much as possible. It might take going out of my comfort zone to begin a conversation with our local residents who are forced to live this way without a clean water source or clean public bathrooms and showers due to our incompetence as a whole community coming together to find a workable solution or there may be some people in the encampments who are choosing to live "outside of the system", which I understand. In my own way, I am trying to live as much "out of the system" as possible, as well.

During our walk, yesterday, I did greet an older woman who was in her early to mid eighties walking her old dog on a leash. She apologized for not wearing a mask as she passed me by. I could tell she was tired and I could tell she lived in one of the tents or I pray one of the beat up rvs which would be more comfortable. I stopped and told her "not to worry about the mask". I was wearing mine. I inquired about her dog. With a weariness, she answered "the dog was very old" and continued her way along the muddy path following one of the lagoons.












 

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