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Friday, April 24, 2009

Urban Adventure

Urban Adventure (Earth Day 2009)

On Earth Day I took a walk with my family. We decided to head down to the railroad tracks and have a treasure hunt/urban adventure. The railroad tracks are part of the Saint Petersburg Times Newspaper. I suppose they used to carry the papers out by train. Now the tracks are no longer used and a huge piece of land lays vacant.

At least that is what we thought. My kid was busy discovering all kinds of treasures. First a golf ball, next a giant bolt, and a cool pair of rainbow stripped suspenders. The red shopping cart should have been our first clue that we were entering someones home. After all their cart was parked in the driveway. The tracks run along a huge body of water that is surrounded by a fence.
There is a lot of wildlife here.

The birds in Florida are amazing. This is the place to watch eagles dive for fish. Ibis and herons are always present.

It was a beautiful day. Lets forget about the fact that there are homeless people living less than a mile from my house. This is the case in most of Saint Petersburg, Fl.

Further down the line, the saw grass had been flattened by the pressure of someones body. Clothes and blankets lay strewn across the side of the tracks. Basic toiletry items: a hairbrush, razor, unused tampons, discarded amongst the rubbish.

This is someones home, I tell my son.

He was uninterrupted by my visual dismay. We kept walking. We found a book, a bike, an American flag. This urban adventure was turning out some great treasures.

Follow this link to see how the City of Saint Petersburg treats the homeless population.

Below a sign that reads: keep out !!!

A sleeping bag waits. The day drags on and I know that if we would have driven somewhere instead of walked, we would have seen a myriad of homeless people working the streets for change. On most corners of every major intersection and at every bridge entrance and exit off the freeway, you will find yourself confronted by a chilling aspect of this city. Not an uncommon aspect, just a sad one.

18.5 percent of the homeless population are children.

As I look around at all the trash, my son brings me an old small stuffed teddy bear. He was excited by his find. I suggested he leave it alone.

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