panhandler

11 June 2013

This morning I sat beside Clark. He said, “I was told that Joy doesn’t use this spot when it’s raining, even though, with the overhang from the library, I’ve been able to keep quite dry.”

“That’s right,”  I said “Or for a while after check day.”

“Yeah, I can see that.” Within minutes a dark-colored pigeon jumped up on Clark’s knee. He looked me up and down, from side to side, then hopped back down.”

“He seems friendly,” I said.

“Yeah, at my other spot I feed them. This is the alpha male. I’ve seen him mating with four or five of the females around here. That gray one over there is distinctive as well. Notice, she has only two toes on her left foot.”

I asked, “How do you think that happened — maybe a fight with a cat?”

“More likely a snare of some kind. I was talking to a lady who works at a bird sanctuary. She said they’ve noticed a lot of birds like this. They’ve yet to pinpoint where the snare is located, but they’re looking for it. They’d like to introduce a humane trap that wouldn’t injure the birds.

“A lot of restaurants serve it on their menu. Bought locally it goes for about three dollars a pound.”

I said, “You’ve mentioned that you’ve done tree planting in British Columbia. Would you rather live in the city or someplace in nature.”

“I’d far rather live in nature. Every time I come back to the city I can feel this wave of stress come over me. ”

I said,  “I have a small cabin that I get away to most weekends. It has no heat, electricity or running water.”

“Have you ever thought about solar power. They’ve done studies that show it’s much less expensive than hydro. They’ve developed a new  solar heat conduction vacuum tube in glass or metal. They’re also called evacuated heat pipes. You should give them a try.”

“I will.”

“I’ve heard that the government is cracking down on marijuana production.”

I said, “That seems silly, since people are licensed to grow marijuana for medical purposes. Why doesn’t the government just take over production. Then, there would be quality assurance and tax money coming in. With drugs on the street, you never know what you’re getting.”

“When I was tree planting a lot of guys used to grow pot or hallucinogenic mushrooms. They put the mushrooms into brownies. A guy from another camp came over, ate too many brownies, along with lots of liquor and nearly died.

“When I was in university I studied Psychology. I was mostly interested in Humanism.   That’s an ideology that promotes reason, ethics and justice, while specifically rejecting supernatural and religious ideas as a basis of morality and decision-making. It makes sense to me.”

I said, “I like to keep an open mind. I listen to all ideas; accepting the ones with merit, rejecting the others. I’ve developed my own personal philosophy.

 

 

Buy my book for $0.99 — proceeds feed the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home; Conversations with Street People
http://buff.ly/1wyjiKS

 

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