Madness Rivera over at Mad Organica posted an inspiring story about her experience participating in the 9th Annual L.A. River Ride put on by the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition. She put in a great performance on the ride, completing the 50 miles in 3:15, but what I enjoyed most about the story is her ability to see beauty where others see only blight:
I wouldn’t say that staring at the LA River fills me as tightly as staring at the ocean, but it’s close. Very close. Which would seem odd to the majority of Angelenos because the LA River is basically considered an iconic eye sore. The property around the ocean is coveted and the most expensive in the world. The property and neighborhoods around the LA River just as soon be forgotten, and often are. These neighborhoods are some of the poorest in the city and often experience the highest crime. But I find the most extreme beauty in the aftermath of a social-economic-political backturning because in these neighborhoods there are still people; mothers and fathers who want well for their children, people who want comfort and fairness for themselves and their community. Beyond the struggle, and criminal frustration, a fiercely organic hope emerges; beauty blossoms that is rooted in the collective, if minimal hope of people. It’s a beauty that cannot be stopped. This can be witnessed in any neighborhood, anywhere.