“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all.
We adoptees sometimes have trouble feeling at home in the world. One
solution is being open to finding new “homes away from home.” This summer, as a result of joining a community garden, I’ve “adopted” a rambling city park called Frenchy’s Field. Even though I live in another section of town, I drive to Frenchy’s at least twice a week. My day to water the garden is Saturday. On Thursday, I meet with fellow gardeners at 8 a.m. We water, weed, and harvest our three garden plots.
I’m fascinated by the place’s history. The park was named after the crusty farmer who farmed that very land. Bernard “Frenchy” Parachou, a veteran of WWI, operated Sunshine Dairy from 1933 through 1983.
The town grew up around the former dairy farm-turned-park, and it subsequently morphed into a community gathering place. Where cattle grazed, there is now a large oval of wildflowers surrounded by a track. Three times around the track, titled “Prescription Trail,” comprise a mile. Bikers and joggers use the wide walkway, a
meandering path that goes for miles along the Santa Fe River. A mud labyrinth invites contemplative walkers. A playground is always busy with mothers, fathers and children. And of course, there is also the community garden that first brought me to Frenchy’s.
Late last month, another sort of “home” appeared. Santa Fe Teen Court and an organization named ARTsmart recruited young people to give an abandoned residence new life. The house that teens and children painted looks just like an adobe house, a simple farm dwelling like many found in northern New Mexican villages. The “trompe l’oeil” style mural is amazing. One feels the original resident, Bernard “Frenchy” Parachou might step outside the front door at any moment.
The faux house, marvelous to behold, stands as an example of creativity and resourcefulness. It pays testimony to the adults who initiated the project, but most of all to the talents of the young people who transformed the abandoned eyesore of a derelict building into a beautiful work of art. It is a monument to hope.