Each morning, stepping out – rather than driving – for my daily walk is refreshing. In most places where I’ve lived (Karachi, Austin, Houston) I’ve usually driven and parked at a spot before starting my walk. But in Pasadena, our condo is next to Victory Park, a green space next to a high school that’s surrounded by football and soccer fields and a baseball stadium.
Temperatures are cool in the mornings, so after dropping Minal to school, I step out to walk; the ritual helps me stay centered as our family deals with transition. My trails takes me through Victory Park to another nearby park Eaton Sunnyslope. After circling residential streets, I return toward our “home”.
As I walk, I’m struck by the respect drivers offer pedestrians. I don’t need to wait for cars to slow down before crossing. Instead, the moment I stride forward, cars obey the yellow sign placed in the middle of the street and halt. (A side note: I’m still adjusting to Minal’s school, where middle and high school students cross a main road without the assistance of crossing guards.)
At the edge of Victory Park is a community center, a volleyball court, swings and a play area. In sharp contrast stand the fenced-off building and parking lot of a US Marines battalion center, an unexpected addition to a park area that attracts dozens of families and students each night. As I walk on the cement trail between the headquarters and the high school parking lot, I catch sight of parked camouflage Hummers and small tanks. But in the distance, always, to offer perspective and beauty is the San Gabriel mountain range that has recently been designated a national monument.
01 Sep 2016 · 02:18:02 PM