SMOOTH SOUNDS

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THE URBAN OASIS

I was walking through an urban area; it was late spring, warm and lovely. There was much beauty from nature to be seen and heard.

I came upon a park. It was like a Municipal park, which means that it was in the center of the city, an oasis in the concrete jungle; a place to relax amidst the constant stress of industry and survival...

This park was very well maintained, and, it was beautiful; lush grass, flowers, wooded areas which led to tiny ponds with fountains and lots of birds, such as ducks and geese, and, of course the usual array of birds common to the area...

There were many people here in this park. It seemed to be a place of great interest and comfort to the locals. Being a visitor, I could tell that these were urban dwellers, and, that this place was where they came to hang...

I walked the entire park in about an hour and a half. It was really nice there, and, the day was so lovely. I sat down on the grass to rest a while, when suddenly I was surrounded by many, many young children. Now, the thing about these children is that they were here alone, as a group, and, from the looks of them they were street children.

This broke my heart instantaneously. I am so weak for human suffering, and, when the suffering involves children I am lost...

These children were no older than 13, the youngest may have been 5. They sat down around me, staring at me, trying to intimidate me, and, asking me questions like, "Hey lady, what you doin' here?" Silly questions designed to unnerve me, but, I was not going to let them do such, and, so I answered every question they hurled at me as best as I could. They finally tired of it, and, I started asking them questions, which they more often than not ignored. There were at least 30 of them, from all ethnic backgrounds. I was just appalled that their young lives had come to this...

They seemed to be comfortable with me, so I asked them where they stayed, which they were reluctant to answer, but, I convinced them that I was merely a visitor and was curious of how they survived all alone. They told me that they were not alone, that they had each other. I said, "Thank God for that!" Which prompted them to ask me if I was a church lady. I told them no, but, I was very religious and spiritual. They asked me some questions about God, and, I answered as best as I could. This went on for an hour or so.

I noticed that several of the boys seemed to be on the look-out and asked about this. The reply was that they had to be careful of certain people. I wanted to know what kind of people, but, I knew; people who preyed on the lost, the Police, Child Protective Services and other such. I just wanted to take them all home, which if I could have, I would have...

I asked them if they were hungry and they cried out in unison, "YES, yes, yes." Nodding their heads and looking at me with hopes for food. I did not have much money but figured what I did have would buy bread and lunch meat and such. I asked them where the nearest store was and they told me that right outside the park, across the street there was a store. I asked if they sold bread and such and they nodded yes. I told them to wait right there for me as I went to get them some food, to which one of the older ones told me, "No, we will follow you, and, wait in the trees nearby, that way we know you will be safe and so will we." I said, "Alright, let's do this!"

Off we went, each feeling a ray of happiness from the encounter. Near the edge of the park, just where I was to cross sat several Police cars, so, the children took off in fear. I did not know why the Police were there, but, I did not want to be involved, so, I headed the opposite way.

I never saw the children again, though I went there every day for a week. I even headed down to the place where they said they stayed, but, saw not a one of them.

That day reminded me of how lucky some of us are, children and adults alike, and how very fragile our time is. It also inspired me to make sure I donated money to make sure that all homeless people are entitled to shelter, showers, and, other menial care, and, to donate to children's orgs who handle homeless children.

Children do not deserve this kind of life. It is not right, not in any way; I cannot stress that enough. If I could I would buy a large piece of land with a massive ranch and I would take in as many as I could that they could have some sort of life and love. What will they grow up to be if they have no one to give them love and direction? We must think about this, it is imperative to their young lives...

While that trip depressed me and inspired me, it was an experience I will cherish and never forget, and, it made me grateful for what I have even if it is never enough for my own ego, it is by their standards, a rich life full of needs fulfilled...

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