Yes, like people say, there are lots of homeless. And yes, I did witness a drug deal my very first day on the beat (right in front of a children’s park too). And the streets are dirty; very dirty with trash and urine.
But throughout my exploration, I found so much beauty. Like brightness in the dark. I met people that radiated positive energy. I saw walls and walls of colorful street art. And I stumbled upon the Tenderloin National Forest.
A couple of artists, always dismayed by the view of the dumpy Cohen alley from their window, decided do something. They turned that alley into the Tenderloin National Forest.
I felt like Alice in Wonderland as I curiously sauntered in. The place was quiet. It was surrounded by colorful murals. There were tall trees. The floor was a tiled mosaic. There were charming garden beds and metal troughs of swimming goldfish.
Walking to the very end of the alley, I circled back to find someone who knew what it this place was. That’s when I saw Joaquin just sitting there.
Joaquin was doing a story on the Tenderloin National Forest for NPR. He was glad to tell me about its history.
As I listened, I sat next to him, and took in the Tenderloin National Forest; gazing at all its features.
“People say it’s a breath of fresh air.”