Dangerous Compassions

new wave 4H

new wave 4H

We saw a hippie by the Safeway grocery store parking lot.  This was in Redding, California as we traveled north to Oregon.  He had hemp jewelry and some signs.  One sign said New Wave 4H: Hungry Hippie Handtied Hemp in rainbow colors.  I love it.

I was curious to speak with him and was feeling open, that day.  We had a whole conversation, and I learned he had just lost his housing.  The hospital gave him a month at a hotel because he endured bypass surgery on his heart.

new wave 4H

This sign says In Need Fo Beads, also in rainbow colors, which I love also.


He told me about the cops in that part of Redding, what he needed, a worker at an agency who gives him bus passes.  He told me about his previous heart attacks and surgeries, and his congenital heart defect that formed “when he grew his heart.”  I loved imagining him as an erring fetus.

He explained that he came to California by hopping a freight train from Florida some 30 years ago.  He’s considering going back.  He said his wife is gone, and he has no reason to hang around Redding anymore.

I bought a beautiful red bead necklace from him.  He finished it while I waited.  I admired his setup, and he said I could take a picture.

new wave 4H

“Can I hang out with you for a little while?” I asked.  “Or do you need your privacy?”

He was happy to have me around as he worked.  When Ming arrived, back from using the bathroom at the Safeway, maybe the hippie was less happy.  He referred to me as a “big girl.”  Later I cried because even to hippies, how I look is what’s most important.

I love myself.  My body is my favorite.  But I’m tired of taking the hit of harm for being different.  I will never be an abled, thin person who is good at making money, making babies, or being legible at all.

But I know there’s no safe place.  If you’re not pretty, you’re harmed for that.  If you’re too pretty, you’re used for being pretty.  Really, there is no way to win.  I found Ming, true love–now I hunker down for the long haul.


I have a good friend who I love so much.  She told me her plan was: keep to herself, avoid cities, and wait to die.  She is brilliant and wonderful, and I was super sad to hear she was just waiting to die.  Yes, many people are bad, but not everyone!

Now I relate to her sads.  I feel similar sads.  I’m not just waiting to die–I like food, nature, breathing, dreams, Ming, the sky.

But I want to narrow my range of the people I am open to.  I was open to too much of the world.  Now I want to be open to the few people I’m friends with who know how to love.


The necklace has some mistakes.  I adore them.  God in the form of error is my favorite.


By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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