by Gerald Lee

Sacred Ground

Sunlight filled the sky on a magnificent structure. We had been wandering the countryside of what seemed like hours. Then we came upon a deserted land littered with the ruins of a tortured past. Looking past the ruins, we found a well-preserved structure surrounded by a beautiful courtyard. In the distance we could see the silhouette of an encampment. Were these people invaders, outcasts, or refugees from another land? Since there was no movement, it was hard to tell whom this camp belonged to so we went in for a closer look. This group consisted of both outcasts and refugees, looking to make a living this desolate place.

            This narrative tells of my first impression upon arriving at Hayden Park at 7th avenue and Broadway. There is this nice well-kept park in the middle of a ruined down neighborhood. On one side of the park is a RV park that looked like it was on its way to ruin. There were bars on some of the windows, clothes hanging on the fence, and thrash on the ground. On the other side of the park, there is a junkyard and some kind of processing plant. The park appeared deserted except for a Hispanic father with his son.

            The park contained an activity building with a picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe painted on the side of it. This sacred structure was surrounded by grass and seemed out of place. The park had some tables, a playground with sand, a basketball court, a playing field, and an open grass field. The trashcans were suspended from the ground with poles, perhaps to prevent them from being tipped over.

            I observed a young Hispanic male riding on a bicycle around the scared building. He had rode around it several times before leaving. Was he waiting for someone or was this some sort of ritual that this person does. I think he was just enjoying his ride on a sunny day.

            Across from the park was a neighborhood that looked well kept but ruined at the same time. One house contained a swing set in the front yard. This house was set beside a stable type field with horses and cows. I could not tell if the two were connected in some way. If they are, that explains why the swing set was placed in the front yard.

            The last thing I observed was a house on the end of the street. This house was like the others except for one thing. There were two Hispanic males sitting on a couch by the garage. That does not seem that unusually except for that the two people were watching a cow in there front yard. This cow has some significance but I am unsure of what it is. Perhaps it is for a party, maybe it is a pet, or it could possibly be dinner one night.

            This journey has shown me that there can be impressive sights in what seems to be a wasteland. I would never have imagined all of the different things that stand out in a South Phoenix neighborhood.




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