Dangerous Compassions

moonstone beach

We went to Moonstone beach, and it was my first time seeing the ocean in two years, since before my mom died.  You know I was in the desert, those two years.

This trip to my homeland is no joyride!  But I do like to find joy everywhere.  This trip is for healing, feeling, facing the truth that my mom is dead.  Finding myself here without her is a huge challenge.  Understatement!  It ends the first two years of learning how to be a person without her.

I never wanted to be a person without her.  But here I am.  Losing parents is part of the human experience.  Losing each other is real.  Death is part of life.

moonstone beach

At Moonstone beach, I was overwhelmed.  Ming took my picture.

moonstone beach

Ming went back to the car for my chair, and then he went for a walk to see the lagoon and snowy plovers.  “I’m not going to step on your eggs!” he told them.

I was singing Mother songs and anything sacred that came to me: Ya Devi, Sarva Mangala, Nanya Spriha, Pakratim Paramam.

I sang until I lost my voice, starting out to sea, then whisper-prayed.  Ming walked on the shore by himself, half-asleep, looking drunk in public.  In my prayers I thanked Mother God that he doesn’t get arrested for being drunk in public.

He came back to me, and I told him he needs a narcoleptic bracelet.  I asked him to stand behind me and touch my shoulders.  It felt great.  Then I saw the dolphins.


“Oh my God, are those dolphins?” I asked.  Their dark bodies arched out of the water, with those fins.  Ming saw them too.

I was surprised, because I never saw dolphins around here.  But things change: with climate crisis, sharks are in new places, and it makes sense dolphins would be too.  We watched for a long time, the dark bodies of the dolphins.  Two small gray dolphins leapt.

“That’s it,” I said to Ming.  “We’re moving back to California.  California is my home.”  It was a strong feeling with no “maybe” to it.  “In fact, I’m staying here!  I’m not even going back for our stuff!”

“Hmm!” Ming said.

“Well, ok.  You can go back for our stuff!”  I imagined Ming packing a u-haul, as I sat right there on the beach, as the sun rose and set and rose.


Yes, as a child, that’s what I wanted to do.  I dreamed of being a few different things when I grew up: a teacher, a trucker, a marine biologist.  A big one was “beach bum.”  I’ve written poems about it, like this.

no shoes

no gender

no problem


“I’ll live in a trailer at the beach and just be at the beach all day,” I told my mom.

“What would you do for a job?” my mom asked.

“I wouldn’t need a job!’ I said.

Oh, little Laura-Marie.


Moonstone beach was a great place to re-meet the ocean.  Felt wrong not to see the ocean for two years, and felt right to experience that feeling of belonging.  And certainty about where I belong was nice, for a change.

Thank you, dolphin relations.  Thank you, California, with your unique power over me.

Truths can come and go, but my truth at Moonstone beach was a pleasure.  If you find a trailer on the beach, please let me know.  I will lose my gender and my shoes, and meet you there.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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