noticing beauty in the neighborhood

"There are beautiful dynamics to urban life that most rural and suburban folks can’t understand. There is variety in its ethnic mixes and this often produces a sense of neighborhood or face-to-face community not known in the suburbs. Suburban residents sometimes don’t know neighbors who live only a few doors a way. When inner city kids visit the suburbs, they often think it looks like a ghost town: all those empty lawns, swimming pools with no one swimming, decks but no one sitting on them, sidewalks and no one walking." (Dean Borgman cCYS http://www.centerforyouth.org/Encyclopedia.aspx?id=47613)

Growing up in a suburb with tons of track homes and corner parks, it took me a long time to appreciate the beauty of inner-city neighborhoods. I was born & raised in Corona... land of new housing developments and cookie cutter corner shopping centers. Corona is pretty... on a clear day. Corona is clean. The grass is green & landscaped. The buildings all look the same... stucco and plain. Bellflower has a different beauty. The beauty isn't based on its cleanliness or buildings... although I do prefer older houses with character compared to track homes with no yards. Bellflower's beauty, specifically my neighborhood, is somewhat hidden. You have to really pay attention to notice it. But once you do, you realize it's all around.

On Eucalyptus there is always someone walking by... even late at night. There are people talking. Mamacitas chatting to one another as they walk their kids to school. Men carrying water bottles up the street to get water for their family. Kids playing games that they made up.

There's an old man that walks around Bellflower all day. He wears a gray sweater, blue polyester pants and walks with a forward slant. I see him everyday! He just walks. Sometimes he has a bag from the grocery store, but mostly he's just walking. He speaks Spanish, so I have yet to converse with him. But he is part of what makes my neighborhood beautiful.

The other night I ate dinner outside on the porch because my house was warm and a little messy. There were two little boys (maybe 7 or 8) across the street giggling. As soon as the street was clear of traffic, they would run out to the middle and each put a plastic bottle where they thought a car would hit it. Then, sure enough, a car would come by and run over one of the bottles... and the kids would laugh and do it again. They found joy with a piece of trash and a busy street. Beautiful.
Chrissy PadillaComment