From time to time I have what I call “church in the park” on Sunday morning. I load up one of the dogs, water bottles, and we head to San Pedro Springs Park. On Sunday morning there are only a few people out and about, much like I am, walking their dog and getting a little fresh air. There are usually a few homeless people, too, that are either still sleeping or watching people go by. It is quiet and very peaceful, a perfect place to walk, sit, and reflect or just think about nothing for a while.
This park has served our community as a public space since 1729 when the King of Spain declared it an ejido (public land). It has been a popular place to gather on Sundays ever since. Picture post cards through the years document the social activities held here and physical changes to the park, mostly to the pool. I always think of all the souls who have come here to enjoy pleasant hours outdoors with family and friends.
I was surprised this morning to see that, just as always, the fencing had been put in place around the pool in preparation for the upcoming summer swimming season. The fence is always put up early in May and the pool is drained and cleaned. Since the coronavirus is still so prevalent I had assumed that no pool preparations would be made, but perhaps the City Parks folks are hoping the summer will allow swimming after all. Strangely, the pool was fairly clean this year. Usually, at this time it is a dark green and full of tree debris from the surrounding cypress trees.
There was also water in the springs, but all but one appeared to be stagnant. Already, warm weather is upon us and no hope of rain any time soon to replenish the underground springs. I feel very fortunate to have seen water flowing from the springs in recent times as they only occasionally fill with water.
This morning after walking around a while we came to sit on our favorite rock wall that over looks the springs and the pool. I love to sit here and talk to God and just soak in the beauty of this place and reflect on the many things for which I am thankful. Colorful esperanza bushes dot this area; I always look forward to being surrounded by their cheerful bright yellow blooms.
Esperanzas (Tecoma stans) are known by many names, including yellow bells. These cheerful perennials are very hardy, blooming from spring well into fall. I’ve always enjoyed their beautiful blooms and dark green foliage, but it is their name that has always captivated me. Esperanza is such a beautiful word and it rolls easily off my tongue, but its meaning is very important. Esperanza in Spanish means hope. Whenever I hear the word or see these bright yellow blooms covering a bush I am reminded that no matter what the situation, there is always hope. Always.
No matter how crazy our world seems right now, this isn’t the first pandemic it has seen and it won’t be the last. Viruses are here to stay. No matter how mixed up everything seems there is still hope. We must just take one day at a time and continuing living. Humans and civilizations have gotten through situations like this before and so will we. We have hope that tomorrow will come, and the day after that, and the day after that… We can’t worry about the days ahead or what the new normal will be. Esperanza!