Laying the Foundation

An excavator lies still at the site of Esperanza Health Center’s forthcoming parking structure.

An excavator lies still at the site of Esperanza Health Center’s forthcoming parking structure.

Work is well underway at the bank building nearby, the building that Esperanza Health Center will move into in the spring. They’ve now turned to digging huge holes in the ground and preparing to lay the foundations for what will be a parking structure.

I’ve stood watching diggers dig, move dirt, rubble and and all sorts of debris from the remains of the buildings that once stood in the same spot over ten years ago. It’s strange to survey this liminal space, remembering what was and imagining what will be, even though the space currently houses nothing but machinery and holes.

As I’ve watched, I’ve thought about how the process reveals some of the hidden realities of life. First, there’s always more under the surface than you think. Second, it seems true that the weakness or strength of any structure hinges on its foundation. The foundation supports the load of the entire building, keeps it standing when forces of nature come to wreak havoc, and it keeps ground moisture at bay to protect the structure’s integrity. If the foundation fails in any of these areas, the building will sag, putting anyone inside, and structures around it, in danger. 

The Simple Way has met a lot of immediate needs for folks over the years, but the longer we’ve been here, the more we’ve looked for ways to support neighbors in finding greater stability. This stability comes through access. Access to food, healthcare, safe and affordable housing, and places of belonging. Each of these represents a crucial elements of stability, a foundation upon which neighbors can build a full life. As part of our communal life here in Kensington, we seek to find sustainable ways for neighbors to meet those needs with dignity, a way for them to lay a firm foundation in their lives.

Sometimes The Simple Way feels like a construction zone, too. But as I stand here, holding memories of what has been and hopes of what will be, I smile at the small ways we are contributing to the long-term strengthening of our neighborhood.