7/6/10

Hahamongna Watershed Park

Deists, among whom counted Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, believed that God revealed Himself through nature. I believe this is true. In nature, our bodies quiet, our minds still, and if we wait and are patient, we can sometimes feel ourselves part of something bigger and more lasting than ourselves. In dark and difficult times, it is hopeful.

The Pasadena City Council votes Monday, July 12, whether to turn a last remaining bit of accessible wilderness -- Hahamongna Watershed Park -- into a soccer field. Soccer is big in this town, and there are not enough fields to play it. I know parents who have to choose between letting their ten year olds be on a soccer team that has to practice at nine o'clock at night or not play at all, this in a time when Americans are at risk for both obesity and not getting enough sleep. Which of these bad alternatives would you choose for your child?

Go! Build a soccer field. But don't built it in this fragile ecosystem that is home to coyotes, bobcats, frogs, ducks, swallows, snakes and other wildlife. Don't build it in this cathedral that provides a needed respite to urban and suburban sprawl. We are a species that needs to feel the earth, touch long grasses, and hear the wind feel its way through canopies of trees. That's just who we are. Through nature, we know the divine. So...let us know.

This post is part of Hahamongha blogger's day. Read more about this issue by visiting the participating bloggers:

Altadena Above It All http://www.altadenaaboveitall.com/

24 comments:

Petrea said...

Excellent points, Margaret. Although I wonder if the need for fields isn't bad planning? On a regular basis I see empty playing fields all over town, even on temperate weekend days. I wonder why the fields aren't being used. There's a disconnect, but I don't know what it is.

Margaret said...

Petrea: I don't know what that's about. Maybe it is bad planning.

Also, mea culpa, the City Council votes on Monday, July 12th. My bad. Sorry (and thanks, Petrea, for correction).

Joanne said...

Oh I hope the Watershed Park remains, but I fear it won't. I've seen plenty of child soccer games at a local field here where I walk, and sometimes I just don't get it. The kids are hot and exhausted, coaches are screaming at them, and I get the feeling they'd all be better off relaxing at home :/

altadenahiker said...

Yay Margaret! Well said.

Petrea said...

Oh, Joanne! Sounds like those kids might like a nature hike.

Daisy said...

This obscenity is happening here too. More and more natural areas being paved or developed or logged. Meanwhile, areas that are already paved, etc., are not used and are simply dis-integrating. I hope that your city council has the sense to realize that people need spaces where their spirits can breathe ... and those spaces aren't in the malls or even the soccer fields. Take the kids on a hike sometimes so they can re-connect with themselves in quiet.

Well, that pushed my button!

Fortunately, here, we have bears who are displaced and will hopefully EAT all the developers, etc! :-)

Linda Dove said...

We are a species that needs to feel the earth, touch long grasses, and hear the wind feel its way through canopies of trees.


Now who's the poet?

Nice job, M.

Stacey Smith said...

Hope they leave it alone.

Olga said...

It starts to seem that every quiet woodland path is greedily snatched up for "recreation opportunities" such as playing fields, mountain bike trails, disc golf, whatever else is the current fad. While all these activities have merit, they also, it seems to me, can have homes somewhere without using up open, natural spaces that we share with flora and fauna. Good luck!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Your first paragraph was extremely moving. Dare I say poetic?

Shanna said...

Beautiful, Margaret...

Latino Heritage said...

Margaret -Love your points in the penultimate paragraph.
Petrea -It would be good to do an overlay of where the kids reside and where the fields exist.
If they are like our PUSD schools 60% of our PUSD students live in a 2.5 mile radius of the intersection of Los Robles and Orange Grove.

Petrea said...

Right by Villa Parke. Are there two soccer fields there, Roberta? Plus a baseball field, I think, where it's possible to play soccer (if no one's playing baseball, that is).

... daisy... said...

Your right... nature is perfect. It's us... we are slowly killing it. Such a shame. Isn't there really another place to build it? Oh my God this must be frustrating. Don't men realize... this way we're slowly killing ourselves. :-/

Petrea said...

We have plenty of other places, daisy.

I quote Havisham Patrizzi quoting 3rd District Councilman Chris Holden, I believe on Facebook:
"The council will discuss Hahamonga and soccer fields on Monday. I would prefer to see the existing passive use of the open space maintained and believe the grant money allocated to the field(s) could be re-allocated to one of the John Muir HS fields, given the same general service area as Hahamonga."

John Muir is a high school in northwest Pasadena with excellent playing field space. There are other possibilities on the west side as well, all better served with public transportation and other facilities.

I just friended Mr. Holden. I hope he accepts.

夏康如 said...

人生是故事的創造與遺忘。............................................................

uwant2gogo said...

My dad is an avid hiker, even at 80 and with Parkinson's. He's always called nature his cathedral. Marty even wrote a song about it, "Feels Like Church". I so hope this soccer field doesn't happen.

Thanks for writing about it, Margaret and all the bloggers. Touched my heart....

Shell Sherree said...

Beautifully expressed, Margaret.

Gina said...

I think it is really important to emphasize that this issue is not Soccer vs. Preservation. The preservation of Hahamongna as it is; is in no way anti-soccer. It is not appropriate to destroy Hahamonga for any reason.

And I do wonder why we can't maintain and open up existing athletic fields. For example, I was at Webster elementary this past June and they have a large grass field which is not being watered and has been allowed to wither away (due to lack of funding from PUSD). How about maintaining that field for the students during the school day and for kids (and adults) to play soccer on during the late afternoon/evenings and weekends? Win/win situation!

Petrea said...

Gina, thanks for the info about Webster. I've been collecting a list of options such as this. It's my contention that we have vacant land waiting to be re-purposed, and that as a "Green City" we can reuse and recycle rather than waste a beautiful natural resource.

Susan Campisi said...

Beautiful post. I'm getting choked up catching up on all the Hahamongna blog posts. All so moving.

Petrea, there's a field in my neighborhood (between Sierra Bonita and Oxford Avenues, just north of University) that's often used for soccer. I think it's owned by US Center for World Mission. Maybe add it to your list, if it's not there already?

Petrea said...

Thanks, Susan. And if anyone knows of unused fields, especially if they're owned by Pasadena or PUSD, let me know.

gaelikaa said...

I love to know about things going on on the other side of the world...

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