One recent evening on Austin’s Sixth Street, this young homeless man and I locked eyes. He wordlessly allowed the taking of his photograph and then commented on my T-shirt: forest green, with a design of generic leaves that could be from any tree. At least that’s what I thought it represented. Your shirt has pot leaves, he said, catching me off guard. I looked down at my shirt. Did it? I laughed. Sure had never seen it that way. Things aren’t always what they seem, I guess. This is what I love about Sixth Street. Conversations you don’t see coming.
I met this man on a recent afternoon walk around downtown Austin. He was sitting on a bench on the north side of Fourth Street, across the street from a Capital MetroRail station. I asked him where the train went, and he said, get on and find out. He smiled. He said he couldn’t afford to ride it. We chatted for a while. He said he used to paint with Art From the Streets, a free and open studio in Austin that serves artists in the homeless community. I asked why he quit. He shrugged. I encouraged him to start painting again. We chatted some more. And then I went on my way, turning to wave at this friendly stranger.
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative neurological disorder for which there is no cure. But a growing body of work from University of Indianapolis researcher Stephanie Combs-Miller reveals something remarkable: Parkinson’s patients participating in Rock Steady Boxing’s noncontact boxing training are seeing significant improvements in balance, gait, mobility and mental outlook as they regain quality of life.
Rock Steady Boxing, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit organization, was founded in 2006.
See my Austin American-Statesman story about one of Rock Steady Boxing’s newest affiliates, Rock Steady Boxing Austin, at www.mystatesman.com/news/lifestyles/recreation/rock-steady-boxing-austin-helps-people-with-parkin/nqtGS.
I shot this photo of David, a young homeless man living on the downtown streets of Austin, Texas, near dusk on a recent Friday evening. I asked David if I could take his picture, but I didn’t ask him to pose. He instinctively adopted this somber, pensive stance against the backdrop of a hotel development on the northeast corner of Seventh Street and Congress Avenue.