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Past, Present, and Future


Except for the foot-high weeds that grew numerously in this fenced-off field on the northwest corner of 7th Street and Roeser, (picture above was the best one available for my freeze-frame) all signs of any previous life were gone.  But, on the outside of the fence, activity (and life) abounded.  Even a few Palo Verde trees grew around the perimeters of the enclosure.  As I looked at the lot, I wondered what was there before.  At about the size of two football fields, I imagined that at one time several homes (and families) existed upon that space.  Or, maybe an old strip mall, which, maybe through years of neglect or abandonment, was condemned and destroyed by the city. 

A couple with a child in a stroller walked past this fence.  Assumingly, they had just done some shopping because a large box of diapers and a large paper bag sat inside the stroller with the infant.  As my view extended further out, I noticed a small group of people by a couple of parked vehicles.  Since this was a Friday, the first thing that came to mind was that someone was having a rummage sale.  I could not see the items that were scattered about in front of them, but I had the impression that they were some of their used possessions.  Although this might not be their situation, I thought about the people who do have to struggle to pay an electric bill, a phone bill, the water bill, the rent, medicine for a child, or, a meal for just the day.  The little bit they make selling some of their personal property will only get them by temporarily and then they will have to be resourceful in some other way.

Behind the backside of the fence was what looked like a junkyard, but it could have been some of the homeowners' (renters') backyards, I really don't know.  There was also a three-story apartment complex that ran partially down the length of one side of the fence.   

Out and beyond stood the growing skyline of downtown Phoenix, and above, the passing by of commercial jets.   

I wonder, what is the future for this child?  Perhaps, not too long from now, I will see the couple with their child passing through this same intersection.  The Palo Verdes will have remained, but the weeds and the fence will no longer be a part of the scene.  In absolute contrast, I imagine this patch of land as a neighborhood park with grass, shade trees, sand pits, playgrounds, picnic tables, and colorful flower gardens.  How can I see such a place?  Because this is South Phoenix, a place in transition.  Do I really think this family will be here to enjoy it?  It is my hope that they will be.  It is also my hope for our future, for this child's future, however utopian it may seem, to have all people, of all kinds of backgrounds, come together to find the kind of serenity that can be found in environments such as this.  In other words, a future that is not so much concerned with what a person has and what a person doesn't have, but with who that person is and what that person is all about.

The alternative to this scenario is not a pretty picture, and it manifests itself in places such as the house that sits across the street (see Second Chances).  So, I will continue to hope for a brighter future for this child…for all of us.  



Last Updated 4-7-2002