Tag Archives: hemp jewelry

Fan Letter

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I’m a big fan of writing fan letters. Although I don’t do it nearly enough, I think it’s important to let people know when I appreciate their work.

Recently, I wrote a fan letter to the two women who do one of my favorite podcasts, Stuff You Missed in History Class. Since Holly (Frey) and Tracy (V. Wilson) enjoy knowing what activities people engage in while listening to the show, along with my letter, I sent some of the handicrafts I made while listing to them. What follows is the letter I sent:

Dear Holly and Tracy,

During camping season (mid-May to mid-October), I am a camp host in a remote mountain area of California. The area where I work offers no electricity, no cell phone coverage, no landline, and no internet access. When I’m not assisting visitors or scrubbing pit toilets or writing about my experiences for my blog, I make winter hats from yarn and jewelry from hemp. While my fingers are busy, I like listening to podcasts, including Stuff You Missed in History Class. I especially enjoy episodes dealing with feisty women and LGBTQ rights.

At one point this past summer, in order to save money, I decided to stay on the mountain for two weeks instead of going to civilization during my days off. I had plenty of food, so sitting tight was no problem. I had several episodes of Stuff You Missed in History Class on my phone and many more stored on my laptop. After I listened to all of the episode on my phone, I pulled out my laptop and used the last of its battery trying to transfer episodes. For some reason I don’t understand, my laptop wouldn’t recognize my phone, so I was unable to add any episodes. Oh well! I simply listened to the dozen or so episodes on my phone until I went back to civilization and my laptop and phone decided to communicate with one another.

Listening to an episode multiple times allowed me to learn new information with each exposure to the material. And it was grand to hear human voices when I had no campers in the campground and was feeling lonely.

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These are the hats I sent to Holly and Tracy.

To thank you for keeping me company, I decided to send you things I made while listening to you. I made the hats while on a yarn bender. I made the necklaces especially for you ladies.

When I decided to make necklaces, I knew I wanted to use pendants with Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s quote “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” While her actual quote uses the word “seldom,” I could only find pendants with “seldom” replaced by “rarely.”  I haven’t read Ulrich’s book named after her quote , so I don’t know if she is she addresses how and when and why the quote was changed. I wonder how this quote came to be attributed to Marilyn Monroe and Eleanor Roosevelt. Finally, I wonder how Ulrich feels about seeing her quote (from her 1976 academic paper in the journal “American Quarterly”) plastered on pendants, bumper stickers, coffee mugs, and t-shirts.

In any case, Tracy and Holly, I appreciate all you two do to bring history to the people. I’ve certainly learned a lot from listening to you.

All the best,

Blaize Sun

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I took the photos in this post.

Boondoggle

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Some days I make hemp necklaces while sitting in the parking lot. On weekday afternoons, it’s usually slow enough to get some work done between collecting parking fees from the drivers of cars that pull in. By the number of comments I receive, my handicraft is at least as interesting as the trees.

One day, several people (including my boss) thought the bright blue and red hemp I was working with was wire, even though the hemp cord’s not nearly as stiff as wire.

One old woman must not have believed me when I said it wasn’t wire because she reached out to touch it. She didn’t ask permission, just reached out. I drew the cord closer and closer to my body, and she just kept reaching. I suspect if I had lain the cord across my bosom, she would have gone ahead and felt me up in the process of fingering my materials.

Oh! I exclaimed. You’re just going to touch it?!(My implication was not You only want to touch it? but You’re just going to touch it whether I want you to or not!)

Yes! she said, and she did!

I was in a state of disbelief, and my slow brain couldn’t even get it together to say, Back off! or Don’t touch me! or Excuse me? or simply No! This stranger thought it was ok to touch my things, things sitting in my lap. Not ok, lady! Not ok!

But she did it. She reached out and touched my hemp cord. I don’t think she even know her behavior was offensive.

The big question when people see me working on a craft project is, What are you making?

A flat answer of a necklace is meant to discourage conversation. I can’t sell the necklaces in the parking lot, so I don’t much want to talk about them.

Another old lady saw me working and said, Boondoggle!

What? I asked. I was really confused. I thought boondoggle was related to snafu. My hemp wasn’t in a knotted mess. Everything seemed ok.

That’s what it’s called, the old lady said to me.

It’s macramé, I told her.

Same thing, she said and wandered off. (At least she didn’t touch me.)

I looked up the definition of boondoggle. This is what I found, according to http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/boondoggle:

Simple Definition of boondoggle

  • : an expensive and wasteful project usually paid for with public money

    Full Definition of boondoggle

    1. 1 :  a braided cord worn by Boy Scouts as a neckerchief slide, hatband, or ornament

    2. 2 :  a wasteful or impractical project or activity often involving graft

      Did You Know?

      When “boondoggle” popped up in the pages of the New York Times in 1935, lots of people tried to explain where the word came from. One theory traced it to an Ozarkian word for “gadget,” while another related it to the Tagalog word that gave us “boondocks.” Another hypothesis suggested that “boondoggle” came from the name of leather toys Daniel Boone supposedly made for his dog. But the only theory that is supported by evidence is much simpler. In the 1920s, Robert Link, a scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America, apparently coined the word to name the braided leather cords made and worn by scouts. The word came to prominence when such a scout boondoggle was presented to the Prince of Wales at the 1929 World Jamboree, and it’s been with us ever since.

The woman was a bit confused. I wasn’t braiding. I wasn’t working with leather. I wasn’t a Boy Scout. But I don’t think she was implying my project was wasteful or impractical, so I’ve decided not to be mad at her.

  • The 16 inch necklace on the left is made from black and green hemp and has a simple pendent I made. The stone is serpentine, which is believed to help one feel more in control of one's spiritual life and the aid meditation. It costs $16, including postage. The necklace in the middle is 20 inches long and made from black and purple hemp. The stone is amethyst, which is believed to support sobriety; guard against panic attacks; and dispels anger, rage, fear, and anxiety. It costs $18, including postage. The necklace on the right is 20 inches long and made from brown and black hemp. The pendant and the accent stones are carnelian which is believed to stimulate creativity, calm anger, promote positive life choices and remove fear of death. This necklace costs $16, including postage costs.

    I took this photo showing some of the “boondoggles” I’ve made. All are for sale. The 16 inch necklace on the left is made from black and green hemp and has a simple pendent I made. The stone is serpentine, which is believed to help one feel more in control of one’s spiritual life and to aid meditation. It costs $16, including postage. The necklace in the middle is 20 inches long and made from black and purple hemp. The stone is amethyst, which is believed to support sobriety; guard against panic attacks; and dispel anger, rage, fear, and anxiety. It costs $18, including postage. The necklace on the right is 20 inches long and made from brown and black hemp. The pendant and the accent stones are carnelian which is believed to stimulate creativity, calm anger, promote positive life choices, and remove fear of death. This necklace costs $16, including postage costs.

More Necklaces

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Today I am sharing with you more of the necklaces I’ve made with my own little hands. All of these necklaces are for sale. I did the hemp work, but I did not make the pendants unless otherwise noted.

The necklace on the left is made from natural hemp and wooden beads. It is 21 inches long. It costs $11, including shipping. The middle necklaces features a goldstone bear on pink and black hemp. It is 14 inches long, and costs $11, including shipping. The necklace on the right is made from black and natural hemp. The carved bone pendant features an ankh. It is 20 inches long and costs $11, including shipping costs.

The necklace on the left is made from natural hemp and wooden beads. It is 21 inches long. It costs $10, including shipping. The middle necklaces features a goldstone bear on pink and black hemp. It is 14 inches long, and costs $10, including shipping. The necklace on the right is made from black and natural hemp. The carved bone pendant features an ankh. It is 20 inches long and costs $10, including shipping costs.

 

The 16 inch necklace on the left is made from black and green hemp and has a simple pendent I made. The stone is serpentine, which is believed to help one feel more in control of one's spiritual life and the aid meditation. It costs $16, including postage. The necklace in the middle is 20 inches long and made from black and purple hemp. The stone is amethyst, which is believed to support sobriety; guard against panic attacks; and dispels anger, rage, fear, and anxiety. It costs $18, including postage. The necklace on the right is 20 inches long and made from brown and black hemp. The pendant and the accent stones are carnelian which is believed to stimulate creativity, calm anger, promote positive life choices and remove fear of death. This necklace costs $16, including postage costs.

The 16 inch necklace on the left is made from black and green hemp and has a simple pendent I made. The stone is serpentine, which is believed to help one feel more in control of one’s spiritual life and to aid meditation. The wire is copper. The necklace costs $16, including postage. The necklace in the middle is 20 inches long and made from black and purple hemp. The stone is amethyst, which is believed to support sobriety; guard against panic attacks; and dispel anger, rage, fear, and anxiety. It costs $18, including postage. The necklace on the right is 20 inches long and made from brown and black hemp. The pendant and the accent stones are carnelian which is believed to stimulate creativity, calm anger, promote positive life choices, and remove fear of death. I turned this stone into a pendant using copper wire. This necklace costs $16, including postage costs.

 

This necklace is made from natural hemp. The frog pendant and the accent stones are made from carved bone. It is 16 inches long and costs $11, including postage.

This necklace is made from natural hemp. The frog pendant and the accent stones are made from carved bone. It is 16 inches long and costs $10, including postage.

 

I made the pendant on the necklace on the left. The hemp is purple and black. The stone is a double quartz crystal. Quartz is believed to be a powerful healer and energy amplifier that unlocks memory. This necklace is 21 inches long and costs $18, including shipping. The middle necklaces features a skull pendant carved from smoked yak bone with hematite accent beads. Hematite is believed to dissolve negativity and enhance willpower. The pink and blue hemp portion is 17 inches long. The cost, including shipping is $18. The necklace on the right features a pendant I made. The stone is rose quartz from South Dakota. Rose quartz is the stone of unconditional love and infinite peace. It is believed to encourage self-forgiveness. This necklace is 20 inches long and features pink and black hemp. The cost is $15, including shipping.

I made the pendant on the necklace on the left using copper wire. The hemp is two shades of purple. The stone is a double quartz crystal. Quartz is believed to be a powerful healer and energy amplifier that unlocks memory. This necklace is 21 inches long and costs $18, including shipping. The middle necklaces features a skull pendant carved from smoked yak bone and an hematite accent bead. Hematite is believed to dissolve negativity and enhance willpower. The pink and blue hemp portion is 17 inches long. The wire is copper. The cost of the necklace, including shipping, is $18. The necklace on the right features a pendant I made using copper wire. The stone is rose quartz from South Dakota. Rose quartz is the stone of unconditional love and infinite peace. It is believed to encourage self-forgiveness. This necklace is 20 inches long and features pink and black hemp. The cost is $15, including shipping.

 

Both of these necklaces are made from natural hemp and feature pendants I made using copper wire and white onyx stones. (I did not carve the stones or drill the holes in them. I used stones that had already been shaped and drilled to make pendants.) White onyx is believed to aid in learning lessons. It's also believed to promote vigor and give strength. The necklace with the star pendant is 18 inches long. The necklace with the moon pendant is 15 inches long. The stones on both pendant are quite large. Each necklace costs $11, including shipping.

Both of these necklaces are made from natural hemp and feature pendants I made using copper wire and white onyx stones. (I did not carve the stones or drill the holes in them. I used stones that had already been shaped and drilled to make pendants.) White onyx is believed to aid in learning lessons. It’s also believed to promote vigor and give strength. The necklace with the star pendant is 18 inches long. The necklace with the moon pendant is 15 inches long. The stones on both pendant are quite large. Each necklace costs $11, including shipping.

 

These two necklaces feature dice I drilled. The necklaces made from black hemp is 15 inches long. The necklace made from natural hemp is 20 inches long and has black and white accent beads.

These two necklaces feature dice I drilled. The necklaces made from black hemp is 15 inches long. The necklace made from natural hemp is 20 inches long and has black and white accent beads. Each die has the number 5 front and center, but it may be possible to move the die to feature another number. Each of these necklaces cost $10, including shipping. I have other drilled dice, so I could possibly do a custom order of a necklace with a die on it.

 

I took all of the photos in this post.

Before and After

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The camp host down the road is a Deadhead too. I determined this fact when I noticed she wore a necklace with a Grateful Dead dancing bear pendant. Every time I talked to her, I was happy to see that bear kicking its leg right above her uniform shirt.

A couple of weeks into the season, I saw she wasn’t wearing the necklace, but I didn’t think too much about it. I figured the heat had probably made wearing the necklace uncomfortable, so she took it off.

One day the Deadhead camp host came to the parking lot to pick up some day passes. She saw me making a hemp necklace and got excited.  Her necklace with the bear pendant was coming apart. Maybe I could fix it? I told her to bring the necklace by sometime and I’d have a look at it.

This is what the camp host's necklace looked like before I rehabbed it.

This is what the Deadhead camp host’s necklace looked like before I rehabbed it.

My two days off rolled around, and I decided to save money by not leaving the mountain. When the Deadhead camp host did her patrol through my campground on Monday morning, I invited her to get the necklace to me. She had it with her when she came through the campground that evening.

Hemp is a very strong, sturdy material. (If you’re unfamiliar with hemp, you can learn about it here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/11/19/hemp-2/.) However, just like most everything else, it eventually wears out. Her necklace was coming apart at the loop that slipped over a bead and held the whole thing together. I told her there was no way I could fix the loop, but I offered to take the necklace apart and restring the beads. The Deadhead camp host offered to pay me for my work, but I’m not one to take money from another Deadhead, especially a Deadhead who’s also a nice co-worker.

I thought it was going to be an easy task: tie a few knots, restring the beads in the same order they were in originally, tie a few more knots, done. Unfortunately, the job turned out to be a bit more difficult than I had planned.

My first problem what that the thinnest hemp cord I had was thicker than the hemp cord used in the original necklace. I used what I had, hoping the Deadhead camp host would like a slightly thicker look.

The second problem was that the original necklace only used one strand of hemp as the carrier (middle) cord, and I was using two strands for the carrier. I didn’t realize this until I had made four inches of very nice spiral knots. The double strand carrier cord wasn’t a problem until I started trying to string the smaller beads. My double strand carrier cord was just microns too large for the tiny holes in the little beads.

To compound my difficulties, my eyes have apparently changed and my glasses don’t help me see anything close. I had to repeatedly remove my glasses so I could do the up-close work with the tiny beads. My large, clumsy fingers did not help the situation.

Every time I tried to shove the tiny beads onto the carrier cord, the hemp frayed. I had to snip the carrier cord after every bead in order to be able to work with the hemp.

I had to take some artistic license. I quit trying to use the tiny beads carved from bone. The holes were just too small. I could work the tiny metal beads onto the necklace, but it was a struggle. I had some small metal beads on hand that I used to replace the missing bone beads.

I think the rehabbed necklace looks great! The Deadhead camp host seems to like it too. When I gave the necklace back to her, she gave me a big hug and put it on immediately. She also wrote a very nice review on my Blaizin’ Sun Creations Facebook page.

Here’s what the Deadhead camp host said at https://www.facebook.com/Blaizin-Sun-Creations-291317231259583/reviews:

Blaize rescued my favorite dancing bear hemp necklace. It was old and worn and the “clasp” was no longer working. She restrung it beautifully, retaining it’s [sic] uniqueness. I couldn’t be happier with the result. Thank you Blaize!!

This is how the camp host's necklace looked after I rehabbed it.

This is how the Deadhead camp host’s necklace looked after I rehabbed it.

New Necklaces

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A couple of weeks ago, I made some new necklaces during slow days at the parking lot. All of these new necklaces are for sale.

The necklace on the left is made with brown and natural hemp and has a serpentine pendant. Serpentine is believed to help the wearer feel more in control of his or her life. It aids meditation and spiritual life. This necklace is 20 and 1/2 inches and costs $16, including postage. The middle necklace has an ornate little key on rainbow hemp. It is 18 and 1/2 inches and cost $12, including postage. The necklace on the right boasts a metal boot on earth tone hemp. It is 19 and 1/2 inches and cost $10, including postage.

The necklace on the left is made with brown and natural hemp and has a serpentine pendant. Serpentine is believed to help the wearer feel more in control of his or her life. It aids meditation and spiritual life. This necklace is 20 and 1/2 inches and costs $16, including postage. The middle necklace has an ornate little key on rainbow hemp. It is 18 and 1/2 inches and cost $12, including postage. The necklace on the right boasts a metal boot on earth-tone hemp. It is 19 and 1/2 inches and cost $10, including postage.

 

This necklace is a St. Christopher medal on natural hemp tied in a spiral design. It is about 19 inches and costs, $10 including shipping.

This necklace is a St. Christopher medal on natural hemp tied in a spiral design. It is about 19 inches and costs, $10 including shipping. I couldn’t find a stamp saying what the medal is made of, but the bail is stamped “France.”

 

Here's a closeup of the front of the medal. I suppose that's the Christ Child being carried by St. Christopher.

Here’s a closeup of the front of the medal. I suppose that’s the Christ Child being carried by St. Christopher.

 

This is a closeup of the back of the medal. I think it says something like, I'm Catholic. In the event of an emergency, call a priest.

This is a closeup of the back of the medal. I think it says something like, St. Christopher, protect me. I’m Catholic. In the event of an emergency, call a priest.

I took all of the photos in this post. Thanks to my friend in New England for sending me the key, the boot, and the St. Christopher medal and encouraging me to work these trinkets into my art.

Whimsical Mushrooms

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I have a friend who is a fantastic artist. She wire-wraps shiny rocks and crochets purses and water bottle holders and headbands to cover cold ears in winter. You can check out many of the items she has for sale in her Etsy shop, Nirvana Creations,  at https://www.etsy.com/shop/NirvanaCreations.

Ammonite Non-Tarnish Copper Wire Wrapped Pendant

This is an example of a wire-wrapped ammonite from Nirvana Creations . Image from https://www.etsy.com/listing/398635131/ammonite-non-tarnish-copper-wire-wrapped?ref=shop_home_active_3

A few weeks ago she posted on Facebook some lovely ammonites she had wrapped in copper to make pendants.

This is what Nirvana Creations says about the ammonite pendants:

This ammonite pendant was handmade by weaving copper wires into these elaborate designs. There is no glue or soldering in the creation of this piece, it is firmly held in place by the handmade setting. Each of these pieces is made with only the utmost love and care, to present the purest and most healing jewelry available. All the pieces are one-of-a-kind, there will be no other exactly like it in the world.

I love ammonites and I love my friend and I love my friend’s work. She is so talented! I told her I wanted to order one of the ammonite pendants.

My friend is also very nice. When I told her I wanted to buy one of her pieces, she said she wanted to do a trade. Of course, I was flattered she wanted to trade with me and told her she could have whatever of mine she wanted. She picked out a couple of things she liked, and I added a couple of other things I thought she should have and sent it all off to North Carolina.

A couple of weeks later, I received a package from her, and I got such a sweet deal. She sent me so much good stuff. I am a lucky woman!

In the package were three (three!) mushroom pendants I knew would look so good on hemp necklaces. I hadn’t even touched my jewelry-making supplies since spring, but I was so excited about the mushroom pendants, and I pulled out my supplies and made three necklaces on a slow afternoon at work.

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These are the three necklaces I made with the three mushroom pendants my friend sent to me. Each necklace is 20 inches long. Each costs $23, including postage.

 

If I had to pick a favorite of the mushroom pendants, this would be it. The cap is made from purple and blue clay. The stem is made from a tiny stick. That's right! The stem is a piece of wood. I hung the pendant from a necklace of purple and blue hemp. The necklace is 20 inches. The price is $23, including postage.

If I had to pick a favorite of the mushroom pendants, this would be it. The cap is made from purple and blue clay. The stem is made from a tiny stick. That’s right! The stem is a piece of wood. I hung the pendant from a necklace of purple and blue hemp. The necklace is 20 inches long. The price is $23, including postage.

 

This amanita-esque mushroom pendant is super cute. The cap is made from red and yellow clay. The stem is made from a crystal (!) maybe tourmaline. I used red and variegated earth-tone hemp to make the necklace, which is 20 inches. The cost is $23, including postage.

This amanita-esque mushroom pendant is super cute. The cap is made from red and yellow clay. The stem is made from a crystal (!), maybe tourmaline. I used red and variegated earth-tone hemp to make the necklace, which is 20 inches long. The cost is $23, including postage.

 

This mushroom has a lot of color. The cap is made from clay and includes browns, reds, yellows, blues, and GLITTER. The stem is a QUARTZ CRYSTAL. I used blue and red hemp to make the necklace, matching the blue and red of the mushroom cap. The necklace can be worn with either the mostly blue side or the mostly red side showing, so it's like getting two necklaces in one. The necklace is 20 inches long. The price is $23, including postage.

This mushroom has a lot of color. The cap is made from clay and includes brown, red, yellow, blue, purple, gold, and GLITTER. The stem is a QUARTZ CRYSTAL. I used blue and red hemp to make the necklace, matching the blue and red of the mushroom cap. The necklace can be worn with either the mostly blue side or the mostly red side showing, so it’s like getting two necklaces in one. The necklace is 20 inches long. The price is $23, including postage.

All of these beautiful necklaces are for sale and would make lovely gifts.

I certainly appreciate my friend gifting the pendants to me to use in my work.

 

Deadheads

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]Say what you will, but I’m pretty sure I manifested those people.

Exhibit  A: I’d been reading The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test for about a week. I guess you could say I’d been savoring it. Oh man–Merry Pranksters and LSD! Just a day or so before, I’d gotten to the part where the Grateful Dead became the house band at the Acid Tests.

Exhibit B: Just the day before, I pulled out the hemp and began making necklaces between collecting parking fees. 

One Package of 400 feet 100% Natural Hemp Cord #20
I started with whimsical mushroom pendants sent to me by a friend. The necklace-making went so well (three necklaces made in a four hour shift), I figured I could do it the three slow days of my parking lot work week. I was working on a hemp necklace when the people pulled into the parking lot.

It makes perfect sensed to me: focus on Merry Pranksters + LSD + Grateful Dead, throw in the repetitive, meditative motion of making square knots from hemp, and Deadheads are bound to appear.

The people arrived in a puff of sage smoke, with maybe a bit of marijuana in the mix.

The car was banged up, a real beater, and was hauling a battered pop-up camper. I didn’t know who the people were at first. I thought maybe they’d mistaken the parking lot for a campground (as happens fairly often). I thought maybe they were just tourists in a scruffy car, regular people who wanted to see some trees.

When the car stopped next to me, the driver had to open his door to hear my rap. (My van’s driver-side window doesn’t go down, so I’m never surprised when I see other people in the same situation.)

Are y’all here for the trees? I asked, and the driver said yes.

There’s a $5 parking fee, I said.

At that point I looked into the car and began to see.

I noticed the driver first. He had a black mark on his forehead, above his nose. He looked like a Catholic on Ash Wednesday, but having been raised Catholic, I know Ash Wednesday doesn’t come in late July.

Then I noticed the child in the backseat. She was probably three and tiny and dirty and her hair was in ratty dreads that meant her mamma had quit fighting her about brushing it. Only hardcore modern hippies have kids with hair like that.

Next I glanced at the dashboard where a lot of papers were piled up. Peeking out from the pile–upside down– I was pretty sure that was Jerry Garcia on that poster.

WAIT! These weren’t tourists. These were maybe–possibly–oh, I hope!

These were the kids!

Is that a Grateful Dead poster on the dash? I asked.

The driver said it was.

I said, There’s no parking fee!

Kids don’t charge kids, man, and these were the kids, and I’m a kid too, under this brown polyester uniform, in my heart.

The driver asked the adult in the backseat (a man younger than I am, but probably the oldest of the bunch), Do you have…something…mumble…mumble…something?

I thought they were fishing around for five bucks, but instead of money, they produced a cardboard sign featuring the words I need a miracle and an awesome drawing of a skeleton.

Hell yeah! I miracled those kids right into that parking lot!

They’d been at a Dead & Company show the night before (or maybe the night before that), and they were heading to a Dead & Company show that night (or maybe the next) but I just had to take a detour and see some trees, the driver told me.

While they parked, I got some granola bars together for them. (Being on tour is hungry work.) The granola bars were met with enthusiasm by the two men, the tiny child, and the fourth person in the party, a young woman resplendent in bold face paint and a fuzzy tail swinging from the seat of her shorts.

They weren’t gone as long as I thought they might be.

When they returned to the parking lot, I asked them how they’d liked the trees.

There were many expressions of approval and thanks.

We’d stay longer, the driver told me, but we have a date with Bobby. (That’s  Bob  Weir of the Grateful Dead, Furthur, and now Dead & Company for folks not in the know.)

I wish I could go with you! I said.

Come on, the woman said immediately. Quit your job! Come with us!

It was the perfect answer, just what I wanted and needed her to say. I’d been dreaming of running away with them from the moment I realized who they were. The last week had been hard with the heat and the bugs and the idiots, and I’d really been wanting to leave.

Turns out just being invited to go with them was enough.

I didn’t go with them, not because I didn’t want to, but because that’s not the path I’m on at the moment. Also, the last time I cast my lot with Deadheads I didn’t even know–well, let’s just say the trip was longer and stranger than I’d ever imagined it could be, from the snow of Colorado to my Southwest Louisiana homeland. Getting out of that one mostly unscathed has made me less likely to run off with strangers.

In any case, when I said I couldn’t (wouldn’t, shouldn’t) go, the older (but still much younger than I) guy stopped and looked at me, told me he appreciated what I was doing keeping it locked down for these trees. That made me feel good too, even though I’m mostly just a parking lot attendant. But yeah, I’m here for the trees, and I’m here to recognize the kids who need a miracle every damn day. (I need those miracles too, and that day, those kids were my miracle.)

The crew headed back to the car, but a few minutes later, I heard a voice say, This is for you.

The woman had returned, and while she didn’t hand me the party favor I’d been trying to manifest, (but I understand, it’s not safe to hand sacraments like that to strangers in polyester-blend pants), I was very pleased with the bundle of California white sage she presented to me.

The car left as it arrived, in a puff of sage smoke, camper trailer in tow. On the back of the trailer was a heart, inscribed inside with the words Not Fade Away, as in a love that’s real not fade away.

Don’t even try to tell me I didn’t draw those people right to me.

For your viewing and listening pleasure, here’s the Grateful Dead performing “I Need a Miracle” in 1978.

 

Shakedown Street (Expanded & Remastered)