I work hard at being an optimist in a world that does not, at least outwardly, reward such naïveté.
While walking this morning I came upon the situation represented by the image above. My heart sank. While here was this very bright red recently opened watermelon, it lay on the sidewalk having been “discarded” and left to waste. No, not from what it represents as part of the WONDERFUL urban grunge I find energy giving. That would be “noise” to me. And remember, I love NOISE!
I was disturbed by the wasteful act. My mind tried to reconcile this. It created a scene where a loving family of four had visited the park in the background (quite lovely, more below), dropped it and had left it. BUT! Why would they leave it? OK, they must not have noticed it “dropping”. BUT! How could they not notice? ? ? My mind went on creating increasingly less likely scenarios to try to reconcile what I believe REALLY is a symbol of wanton waste.
The more I think, the more I live in a place, the better I am at getting out into “it”, the better I am able to connect dots. At least MY dots. At the top of the image is a fence. Mostly decorative, yet also quite sturdy. The more JDT and I (mostly JDT) walk around the city, the more we notice the parks. NOLA has a reputation as a city high on the grunge factor. Some might even call it filth. Good? Bad? That is just a values based assessment that I find a bit trite. Frankly each of us as citizens or visitors to the city contribute. AND its presence isn’t much debated. In striking contrast to this are the parks. It is almost universal. Why? Hmmmm?
Homelessness is a thing here in NOLA like it is in much of the country. It can not be escaped. Much like filth, the conversations about solutions have evolved very little in my life. Yes, we have evolved past simply buying them bus tickets to send a problem from one city to another (yes SF I am shaming you for years of “shipping” the problem to Sacramento). But, real solutions seem to always be beyond our grasp.
You know I like to connect dots? AND, what is the line connecting all of the above. Here is what it is for me. The fact that the parks are very nice and clean, while certainly mostly pleasing to see and absolutely wonderful to be in, they are a representation of waste. We Not due to what they are, but due to them being so much less than they could be.
Another, earlier part of my walk this morning was adjacent to Louis Armstrong Park (LAP). It is but a few blocks from us and lies nearly on the border of the French Quarter and Treme. Treme (if you are as big an HBO fan as me, you’ll recall) is a lower socio-economic neighborhood than “The Quarter”. And it contains a fair amount of homelessness. As I walked adjacent to LAP I came upon three homeless men that were just rousing and beginning their day. I wished I’d the courage or insensitivity to take a photo. The image will not leave my brain soon. In the foreground, them on the benches AND in the background, this beautiful park that they were locked out of, at least for the evening.
DOES IT HAVE TO BE THUS?
This is Joyce, tagging on to Glen’s post with a flipside. After Glen came home and told me about the watermelon, I walked by the park that is literally along our back fence and came up this lampshade and container of Tide. Someone no longer needed these items so they left them out for someone to use. I’ve also seen “soccer” chairs left by trash cans for others to pick up. So there is waste…lots of it and then there are examples of people thinking about how others could use their leftovers. And the unhoused…I have been thinking how I could address that topic in a blog. It’s so complicated and so prevalent here.