My little park with the ocean view with misty golden sunsets. The place where so many of us walk our dogs and count the bunnies munching on the soft green grass. A family of hawks lives in the pines above and soar overhead calling to each other.
Bright yellow butterflies dancing on the whisp of a breeze between the brilliant hot pink bougainvillea and cool white oleander. Park benches dedicated to long passed residents who earned memorial for their service to our little community.
At the stoney eastern end, cairns piled to mark someone's moment of being present in this quiet oasis.
I would often go there with the babies to reset my soul after a particularly rough day at the office. And just this day, I was throwing quite a gala pity-party; orders not shipped on time, others shipping too soon, lost boxes in the black hole between the warehouse and the FedEx truck, bank balances way too low and how the h@££ do I tell my husband? Yes all these were the balloons, streamers and confetti of the festival in my head. When POW, here is reality. Christina, one of the security patrol officers doing extra duty in my neighborhood is stabbed, middle of a Friday afternoon, in our little bucolic haven in the city.
I had been told that the increased security was due to problems with non-residents DOG walking. As it turns out, the problem is non-resident DRUG taking! (jeesh, no one can hear around here). Our neighbor Ruth's house overlooks the entrance to the park where picnic tables and benches offer a birds-eye view of the park and beyond. She reports that at all hours there are people shooting up whatever drug they can afford and leaving their needles amongst those dropped by the pines. This has been going on for weeks!
Ruth is the one who heard Christina's screams and found her on the ground with the switchblade knife still in her stomach. Nine one one. Police and their dogs. Ambulance. EMTs. Helicopters. People detained. People interviewed. By the time I had come along, all these were gone, except Ruth sitting on the bench trying to breathe again. Debbie, another neighbor while walking her little dog witnessed the whole thing was now at home gathering herself as well. Christina at the hospital in surgery.
So as I finished my late afternoon walk with my two precious dogs, I remind myself, Miss Pity-Party Hostess, you thought you had a bad day? These are the dramas taking place all around you every day. Gun violence. Death. Refugees in despair. Illness. Tragedies of all proportions that leave their mark on us, humankind. Now go reset your perspective of how damn lucky you are.