Merced’s Homeless, Beyond the Veil

Homeless in park

“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

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Homeless under MLK bridge

I was reminded of this admittedly ominous perspective while standing beside one of many dining tables within a large hall of the ‘D’ Street Homeless Shelter in Merced, California. Nearby, one of the volunteers looked across the room at those who opted to take shelter that evening. His comments suggested a slight annoyance at what he observed, and an attempt to reconcile what he considered contradictory behaviors. His running commentary reflected his thoughts, drifting between the activities of the shelter and an obvious deep-seated political philosophy. And as I’ve discovered over the course of these past several years, there is an ever-increasing movement in contemporary America to somehow link every situation and circumstance to a political philosophy. Typically used as a weapon for disparaging a political opponent or party, I fear the movement has left in its wake an obscuring of fact, evidence and reality. Consequently, we are slowly being paralyzed by an inability to be objective in our critical thinking.

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Random Pix – Angkor Thom

Approaching the western gate to Angkor Thom, Cambodia.

Angkor Thom – “Great City” – ancient capitol city of the Khmer empire.

                                                                                                                                          

Hedging against Momentum

It is difficult to categorically measure change within the context of a lifetime.  Of course exceptions to this can be made, however for most of us the day-to-day business of living is entirely effective at obscuring any indication of time’s continuance to flow quietly through our fingers. Few things in life are so elusive.  Sometimes we need to clinch our fists and hold the moment, savor it, and reflect upon its significance before letting it slip from our grasp.

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Vertical Boarding

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“The single greatest feeling in the world is to land the trick that you have been fighting to land. The second greatest feeling is bailing because you can only get better.”

~ James Gallagher

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D.T. was again roaming the streets practicing his street photography when he came across a group of young skateboarders (visit D.T.’s site here).  For over an hour the skaterboarders performed various jumps, stunts and tricks unique to the sport.

 

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Sunset on the Port of Stockton

Originally opened in 1933, the Port of Stockton’s northern bank is today mostly abandoned.   But what remains is an interesting mix of buildings in various states of disrepair, standing alongside those on the verge of imminent collapse.  And it is for these reasons that the place is immensely fascinating to walk through, particularly if your walk coincides with sunset.  .

Walking through the area one evening, I was struck by the contrast of our immediate surroundings against that of a nearby yacht club.  Fortunes of the past were made all along this river bank, I thought, and today’s fortunes are being purged just upstream from where I stood.  My mind quickly engaged in an attempt to link these contrasts together, to somehow construct from my surroundings a window for glimpsing back into history.  Ultimately my sense of mystery prevailed, so I continued walking, sifting through the shadows for the past.

~ Castaway

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African-American Women’s Health Forum

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“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”

– Martin Luther King Jr.

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“The goal of this forum is to bring together health and mental health providers and administrators, policy makers, African American women and youth, church leaders, and other interested individuals to begin a meaningful conversation about current health concerns impacting the community and to develop strategies to improve the health status of African Americans in Merced County.”

–  An Invitation  –  First African American Women’s Health Forum

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Beyond the Ether

Alta Cienega Motel, Room 32

“In that year, in our youth, we had an intense visitation of energy”  ~Jim Morrison

Approaching Grapevine

I suppose every journey begins or ends with the realization of having experienced the unexpected.  And for anyone seeking adventure, enlightenment or education, this must be seen as a positive element of discovery.  For some, including myself, it’s often the entire point.

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Random Pix – A Rockwell Sunset

Living in California provides a unique observational platform to the ever-evolving dynamics of contrasts.  Being a native of the state – and residing in a decidedly non-progressive region – I will confirm there is equal measure of fascination and frustration with various segments of the  citizenry.  The common determinate – as always – being one’s disposition, inclinations and affiliations.  Or, perhaps, it’s simply one’s level of curiosity.

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