Posts Tagged ‘psychedelics’

Stairway to Heaven

May 27, 2014

Hello friends

It’s been a few days.

I have missed you.

I have so much to write about, I may not get it all out here tonight, but I will give it a shot.

I was away for the last three nights in Bradley, California for the 9th annual Lighting in a Bottle Festival.

I had never heard of it before this year and really hadn’t much inclination to go.

However, the opportunity to spend a weekend camping with a dear friend is not to be missed and you know, maybe I might see some music that I like.

Moby.

Moby

Moby

That’s right.

I got to see God.

No.

I don’t believe Moby is God.

But I do believe that he is a conduit for a higher power that so moved me I nearly danced my knees to pieces.

And I was so close I could almost reach out and touch him.

The set was beyond belief, I still cannot tell you how exactly it happened, but we just gradually made our way closer and closer to the stage, being there for the previous act helped, and the next thing you know while they are changing sets, we, my friend and I, are down in front, center stage.

It was so good.

So good.

This good:

Front row Moby

Me, front row, Moby

I was filled up with light.

Yeah.

I know.

Cheesy.

Corn ball.

Over the top.

But, whatever, I won’t argue with you.

You get to be right.

I get to be happy.

Man, was I happy.

Then the round of stair climbing truly began.

The festival was set up in a emptied lake resevoir that had dried up and the event was spread over quite a few acres, I am not sure the exact parameter of it, but it was probably spread out over two, two and a half miles.

And there were stairs going in and out of the gullies and valleys.

You could not make it from one side of the event to the other without going down some pretty big drops and long climbs in and out of the gullies up and down the stairs.

Now.

I am already a bit injured, from the scooter accident I had two weeks ago and the attack of the skateboard last week, and my legs were sorely taxed.

I must have climbed those fucking stairs a thousand times.

Perhaps I exagerrate.

But, not by much.

My friend and I postulated that we probably walked anywhere between three and five miles a day.  Maybe more.  I am not sure, but there was a lot of walking.

A lot.

Unlike Burning Man it was not flat and there really wasn’t much bicycle riding, although I did see some valiant efforts to do so and there were pedi cabs circling about.

The other thing was that there were vendors there, unlike Burning Man which is a gifting community and I found it a challenge to not compare the festival to it (the lights, the rigging work, the stages, the shade structures, some of the art and the artists, have all been to Burning Man).

For example The Front Porch was there:

The Front Porch

The Front Porch

An art installation that debuted, I believe, please do not quote me for fact, three burns ago on playa.  It features a front porch facade that is pulled by a tractor and the back side has a working kitchen with an oven, where yes, dear, you can bake cookies.

There is nothing more magical than the first time I saw the Front Porch rolling across the playa at Burning Man and I was riding my bicycle through a dusty night following the sound of bluesy folk music and the smell of homemade chocolate chip cookies being baked.

My goodness.

Free goodness too.

Nobody charges you for those cookies at Burning Man.

However, when I saw someone handing out slices of watermelon from a cooler I overheard this conversation:

“Oh my god, WATERMELON!”

“I’ll take a slice,” the man eagerly reached forward to the proffered piece.

Then he hesitated.

“Is it free?”

No.”

“Dollar a slice,” the vendor replied shutting the lid to the cooler.

The man retracted his hand as though he had been bitten.

That dude made a lot of money off the participants.

I suspect all the vendors did.

And I don’t begrudge someone making a living, but it was such a contrast to the kind of de-commidication that I have found so warming at Burning Man, that well, I was bummed out a bit by it.

I found also that the act of commidifying the spiritual aspects of the even made me quite judgemental about it.

I was also wearing my Ms. Judgy Pants with all the out right drug use happening.

Esctacy.

Molly.

Cocaine.

Pot.

Mushrooms.

Acid.

I saw so many fucked up people.

I saw more out right open use of drugs than I have in all the burns I have gone to, seven, combined.

I found it disgruntling and a bit disturbing.

Hey, let’s serve you some raw vegan gluten-free food, its organic too!

It’s gonna help you get over that cocaine/alcohol/acid/mushroom/GBH/K/Molly hangover you got going on.

Just in time for you to get to that yoga class you wanted to make.

I was mystified by it.

The quest for spirituality through incessant drug use.

I mean.

I get it.

I understand, I sought escape too, one time, dontcha know, but to see it encouraged to the point that it was, made me feel a little jaded about the entire event.

Though, in fact, despite myself and my nay-saying ways, I got to have that little spiritual awakening myself.

However, it did not come from drugs.

I came from music and it was so powerful that I hesitate to write about it.

Not from the stand point that I want to convince you.

I am not interested in convincing anyone.

I know what happened.

I was there.

I was aware.

I was not checked out and it completely took me by surprise.

Lying, exhausted from being up late the night before, climbing many sets of stairs, remember, pitching camp in the dark, dancing my ass off at Moby, followed by little sleep, awakening early, too early the next day, by seven a.m. when the hot sun chased me out of the tent, walking more, up and down those stairs, probably mildly dehydrated, in an oasis, I had an awakening.

Not unlike the one I had about seven and a half years ago after doing a lot of amends in my life.

I was underneath a shade structure, spent, lying on a mat on the dusty dry ground, head propped up on a pillow I had scavenged from the ecstatic dance group that was going on nearby, I closed my eyes and tried to rest.

Rest, however, can be a challenge when there’s a dj playing music and the bass is so heavy it shakes the ground beneath you.

But it happened.

Somewhere in the middle of the sound, carried on the waves of bass, brightened in the hot air, blue-ified sky, high above me, the sound blew in and out of my heart and broke it open.

The dj was spinning a Paul Simon song from the Graceland album that I had played so often during a certain period of my life that I still know all the words by heart.

I sang along to the words, the song being mixed with a classic four four beat, bass trembling beneath me, warm ground cradling me, I rose into the sky and cried it all out.

The grief, the loss, the idealized fantasy life that I had surrounded myself with so long ago, the ideas of who I am and what I am finally melting out of my soul, like a hard sugar candy crust that had finally been cracked.

Yellow, sweet, golden, I basked in the music and let it hold me.

I don’t know that I can fully articulate everything that happened in those moments, but the deep realization that grieving is not linear and has no time line, struck me again, that I could still be holding onto to these old thoughts and ideas, beliefs of who I am and what I am, to let go those concepts.

Who wouldn’t cry?

I had a lot of small epiphanies after the grief riveted out of my heart and I will write more soon.

It’s just late, my friends.

And I missed you.

But I missed my bed too.

Tomorrow.

More.

Love.

For you.

Or magic, should you prefer.

Magic

Magic

More Magic

More Magic

Black Light Magic

Black Light Magic

Light

Magic, it’s everywhere

 

 

 

Number One

July 21, 2013

This post does not really count as my daily blog post.

I was asked to contribute to a blog about women in their 40s.

I sent my first piece and she has asked me to contribute again.

Here, then is the piece I finished earlier today, which will come out in a few weeks on her blog 40s Represented:

 

What Was When

 

When we thought we would be best friends forever.

When we thought no other person, place, thing, or attitude could stand in our way.

When we were tied at the hip and our boyfriends begrudgingly made friends with each other, as there were no way we would choose a boyfriend over a friend.

Well, unless the sex was really good.

But even then, even then, it seemed that we would be together, forever, the four of us, always.

There was the time we realized that soon we would be heading away from each other, one to law school, one to graduate school, one to nursing school, one to get her Bachelor’s degree.  We did mushrooms as a ritual to bind ourselves to each other.  Our own little blood sister ceremony, except with psychedelics instead of actual blood.

We were inseparable.

That is what it felt like.

However, feelings are not facts, and the separation occurred and the boyfriends became husbands and the hobbies and jobs became careers and she graduated from law school, and she got her Masters, and she went to nursing school, and she lost her marbles and moved out West.

“Pusher, juice lady, pusher,” my friends gave me shit, I had mixed the mushrooms with frozen orange juice, ice, sugar, and champagne (mushrooms do not taste good on their own)

They gave me shit about a lot of things.

And they were always honest with me, pointing out foibles I would not have stood from other people.

“You’ve never had girlfriends, have you,” my best friend asked me one day after a long shift at the restaurant we all had met at, became friends at, became partners in crime, agents in arms, bestest girlfriends, ever, ever, and forever, amen.

“What are you talking about?” I asked my girlfriend and knocked back another swig of the Warsteiner she had poured into a frosted half liter glass mug and spiked with lemonade, a German summer drink called a Radler.

It was hot, the A/C was off for the evening, there was no one left in the beer hall and we were in the bier garden with our feet up on the benches, hanging out, talking smack, being girlfriends.

“Honey, you told B. that she had a ‘mom cut’ when she asked how you liked her new hair cut,” my friend said, “and she does, but you don’t say that to a friend.”

“It’s a total mom cut,” I said in defense, “why should I lie?”

“Because you hurt her feelings,” my friend said, “you don’t have girlfriends do you?

“Nope,” I said, and lit a cigarette.

I generally got a long much better with guys, they were easy to understand and I knew where I stood with them.  Women, however, strange nebulous creatures with emotions and make up and brunches, and family goals; nope, I did not have girlfriends.

Then, I took a risk, I took the risk that would be one of the biggest pay offs in my life, I said, “Would you be my friend?”

And she said yes.

She is still my friend today.

Despite being thousands of miles away, married, in a successful career, with three boys, and a home in a small scenic town on the Wisconsin, Minnesota border, we are still best friends.

Life happens.

Careers change.

People move.

Friends do horrible things to each other.

“You talked to me about the guy you fucked last night,” she said to me, tears standing bright in her eyes, “do you remember that?  Do you?”

We were at the airport and I was leaving, I was leaving after a disastrous 32-birthday weekend.  My friends had done an intervention on me.

“I was telling you about the baby I miscarried, and you were too wrapped up in your story of the guy you met in the bar,” tears overflowed, soft, slow, a dripping line of salt that corroded my heart, leaving me scarred by her hurt.

 

“I am sorry,” I said.

“I am done with you, I really am, they are trying to convince me, but I am done,” she finished.

I had contact with her once more, about a month later; she sent me magazines, a carton of cigarettes, and the novel Bridget Jones’s Diary.  She wished me luck, we chatted on the phone and then no more.

Eight years later I wondered where we had gotten to, what had happened, when, and who were we now.

Our collected group, smashed brains shrooming on the front porch of my house in the soft blooming July night so many years ago, declaring we would always be friends, to the end, to the death.

Forever.

But forever is a story that we tell ourselves before life intervenes and parents die, babies are born, and lovers ask to be partners ask to move away, careers burgeon, and houses are bought; the feeling though, at 40 is still there.

I cherish that time.

I don’t want to go back to it, but I am grateful for the time I got to have those women in my life.  They taught me the rudiments of friendship and I still look for those stalwart values in my current set of friends.

Not nostalgia so much as an honoring of those times and those memories and the seeds of friendship that were planted in my garden of female friends.

Sometimes a flower dies and you think, that was going to be a fixture in my garden forever, but you mulch it, and take the experience of it, and the memory of it, and use that to plant new seeds, new flowers, new friends.

I would not be who I am without those first girlfriends.

 

What happen is not a mystery, not shrouded in some gauzy film of noir, no, what happened was life.

 

No big secret there.

I honor those women, though, I always will.

They were in my thoughts as I traipsed about the cobbled streets of Paris on my 40th birthday and had lunch with a new girlfriend at a bistro in the Opera neighborhood and later at a café in the Montmartre with another new girlfriend.

“I am taking us all to Paris!”  I exclaimed, “For my 40th, we are all going to Paris.”

They did come with me, just not in the way I expected.

 

 


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