This park is a small oasis in the hustle and bustle of the 4th largest city in the country. On any given nice weather day, you will find families picnicking, musicians strumming, yoga enthusiasts posing, dogs chasing frisbees, and so on. I feel at home here. It’s simple and private, with large, expansive oak trees that provide hours of climbing pleasure for kids of all ages.
My husband and I frequently see these two men while on our daily dog walk around the park. I’ll call them Jay and Don. Jay is from Cuba via Brooklyn, brought to Texas when the construction business was at a high. Don was born just two streets away, has lived here all his life, and remembers when houses were cleared to build this park. It’s the classic visual of two guys chatting in the park. This same picture could have been shot in any other country, or century. Except, it was this morning, and Jay and Don are homeless. What represents “home” to me, is their literal home. Each man carrying his own belongings in one, small backpack. It’s a reminder that many of us spend way too much time focusing on the little things; unappreciative of the luxuries we have, and another reminder of our humanity. We make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes are addictive and destructive. It seems we are all just one wrong decision away from homelessness. And yet, these guys have found a beautiful place in which to call “home”.