Fall ritual

A. & I seem to find ourselves trekking through Holmdel Park at every turn of the season -- winter into spring into summer into fall . . . Our mindful walk on the hilly path along the lake has become our own family tradition along with a side trip to our favorite country farm, Delicious Orchards.  Love me some honeycrisp apples, especially in the fall!

Sadly during our stroll, my thoughts wandered briefly to this past week's CCC visit to the Horizon Youth Detention Center in the Bronx, a secure facility for youth who've allegedly committed serious crimes, though more than half of them don't even belong in there.  Unfortunately, the juvenile justice system is wrought with grave errors.  Youth who commit petty crimes are thrown into prison and into an experience that ruins any chance of true rehabilitation.  Certainly there are young people who have committed serious crimes and deserve to be in prison.  But there are even more who should not be locked up and are forever scarred by disgusting practices such as physical and sexual abuse by prison staff.  Not to mention the fact that several New York State upstate youth prisons remain open for the purpose of keeping staff employed even when there are no residents in those prisons.  Abominable.  Children are not a job creation strategy.

No fall rituals for the young women and men at Horizon, other than wearing the same colored jumpers and walking with their arms behind their backs crossed in invisible handcuffs as they are escorted throughout the facility, never left alone.  

Every week, each CCC site visit has become my personal parent-in-training seminar as I learn more about the importance of advocating for children.  It's amazing that many of the social concerns related to child and family welfare are rooted in much needed support for parents, particularly preventive services.  While poverty plays a major role in the urgency for social services, so many parents lack general stability to properly take care of and love their children, resulting in hugely disturbing physical and emotional violence.  Yet, they don't require hundreds of pages of readings, group studies or multiple home visits before they actually become parents -- the way they require such for adoptive parents.  Don't need a license to parent a birth child . . .   

My thoughts weren't actually sidetracked for too long a moment during our hike.  My conscious learning makes me thoughtfully appreciative of life's blessings as I set intentions for healing and renewal in the world.  

Turn, Season, turn.