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A walk of faith
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Just when the reports of armed robbery and animal cruelty made me want to throw up my hands at my fellow man, my faith in humanity was restored. This transformation of belief occurred during a simple Sunday afternoon walk.
I am not an eager exerciser. In fact, even the thought of repetitious physical exertion — that results in nothing being accomplished — fills me with dread. But on Sunday, I decided to bite the bullet and take a walk. I live near California State University, Stanislaus, so I headed over to the university.
I was not in a good mood when I began my Sunday stroll. I was exercising by myself, I couldn’t find my iPod and thoughts of work and the steady stream of disturbing news that seems to be the norm for the entire country were swarming in my head. Then I took a look around.
The weather was perfect. I do not say this lightly. The temperature was around 65 degrees, there was a slight breeze and just enough clouds to make the sun warm, but not overpowering. And everywhere I looked there were my fellow Turlockers enjoying the day right along with me.
I saw a couple taking their new puppy for a walk. The requisite young families pushing baby strollers were out in force. And a few serious athletes ran laps around them all.
As I rounded the bend of Sequoia Lake, I saw either a young mother or an older sister teaching a 3 year old girl the finer points of kicking a soccer ball. I had to stop for a moment and smile at the tike’s intense concentration on following the directions of her mentor. This young girl had future Olympic athlete written all over her.
After crossing the footpath bridge I ran into at least a dozen well-dressed people entering the Synder Music Hall. I assumed they were taking in one of the many quality performances the university offers all year long. My travels then took me past a family of four, all on bikes, who had stopped to feed the ducks. The family wasn’t throwing rocks at the ducks or abusing them in any way, which was good to see. Also watching the antics of Stanislaus’ resident water foul were two older gentlemen and two teen girls, who looked like they were sisters. It struck me that there was at least a 60-year gap in the two groups’ ages, but they were both enjoying the same activity. On my way back around Sequoia Lake, I saw five men and one woman posing for pictures being taken by a professional photographer. Their clothes were casual, which made me think they were a band rather than a wedding party. For the next 20 minutes or so, I had fun thinking about possible band names and finally decided Lisa and the Dodos would be perfect.
As my walk came to an end, I reflected on the multi-cultural and multi-generational scene I had witnessed. The ages and ethnic backgrounds of those using the university grounds that day were as varied as their respective activities. But they all had one goal in common — making the most of a beautiful spring day. At no time did I see an aggravated assault, auto burglary or narcotics sale — which have become all too common in our fair city. Although I know that the 20 to 30 people I saw at the university on that one Sunday afternoon are just a fraction of Turlock’s population, their obvious good intentions made me feel better about all of humanity. This realization was what brought me back from the brink of pessimism.
So while I encourage everyone to read the news — it is our duty as American citizens to stay informed — I also recommend a brisk walk around the neighborhood in order to put everything in perspective.
To contact Kristina Hacker e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.