My wife and sister had left town for the weekend to go to a music festival, so I figured it would be a good time to take a solo trip. I had been on a long hiatus away from the mushrooms, but recently I have been getting reacquainted with them; this would be my first solo trip in several years, and I was both apprehensive and excited. After work on Friday night I ground up a bunch of aborts, mutant blobs, and gritty mushroom feet into powder with the coffee grinder, and I stuffed the powder into gel caps. I set aside four of the capsules and smudged them in preparation for the following day.
On Saturday morning I woke up around 9 AM feeling refreshed and ready for the day. I decided I would relax and enjoy my morning, and then dose early in the afternoon. I made coffee, had a shower, went for a walk down to the lake, did some yoga, ate some lunch, and I listened to music and sang along merrily while I made my dinner for the evening. By that time it was one o'clock in the afternoon and it was time to get ready to go. I initially intended to eat 2 grams of the mushroom powder, but I remembered that each capsule weighed 0.1 grams when empty, and 0.5 grams when full. So, the four capsules I had set aside only contained about 1.6 grams of mushroom powder. I debated on whether or not I wanted to get another capsule and decided that I intuitively set aside the perfect dosage for this day.
I gathered the necessities for the first leg of my journey: my portable music box, waterbottle, and the key to my sister's apartment. Leaving behind my shoes, knife, tobacco, cannabis, phone and wallet I set out into the world. I leisurely walked the mile to my sisters apartment listening to Shpongle and enjoying the perfect weather. I ate the first capsule when the apartment building was in sight, then I let myself in to check on her cat. Her apartment was the launch pad for my trip. I sat at her kitchen counter, petting the cat, and doodling in a notebook. Every five or ten minutes or so I would swallow another capsule until they were all gone. The picture I was drawing started off fairly innocuous as three people hugging, but as the mushroom's effects slowly began to take hold it began get more and more bizarre. The music in my headphones began to control the pace of my pen strokes. My hand began to draw without my conscious involvement. I drew people sprouting out of other people's heads, hairy legs wearing a tutu, lots of eyes, fish, tentacles. The sun, moon, Earth and stars. What place in me was this all coming from? It all felt very familiar. Each strange new addition budded off of the previous one. I began to feel anxious and claustrophobic in the tiny apartment. I was full of nervous energy and I wondered if I was really beginning to feel the effects or if I was only imagining it. Then the music I was listening to did a stereo trick that made me feel like I was flipping end over end. The music was like this fizzy liquid that was bathing my brain. It was time to lock up and go outside.
I stepped out into blissful sunshine and grinned. Everything was so warm and golden. I walked and bobbed and grinned to the music down the pedestrian corridor that runs behind the apartment and spans the length of town. I interpreted every change in texture and minute topography of the ground through my bare feet. Leaving the shoes behind was an excellent decision. Everything was alive with vibrant plant life. I wanted to walk on the path I was on forever, but the beach was calling to me. I weaved and zig-zagged and danced my way down to the lake. There were people on the beach when I arrived, which made me a little self-conscious. So, I put on my poker face and walked past them all as "normally" as I could. Time began to noticeably dilate as I found a place to sit that was a comfortable distance away from other people. I spent an inexplicable amount of time there, laying in the sunshine, rolling in the sand and smooth pebbles. I examined rocks and watched the waves on the water, and the sailboats on the horizon. I watched the patterns that played out on my closed eyelids. I picked up handfuls of small pebbles and tossed them high into the air to watch the sunlight flash and sparkle off of them. Eventually I noticed that some people far to the left of me were watching me while trying not to look like they were watching me. I got self-conscious again, and by this time I had to pee anyway, so I got up and left. I dragged my feet through the sand the rest of the way down the beach to truly appreciate its warm grainy texture, and I made my way to a point further down the pedestrian corridor. If parts of cities are likened to different panels in a comic, then there are places that lie between the panels. In this city the pedestrian corridor is one of these places.
I followed the corridor looking at all the plant life. I identified flowers and weeds. I found some nice bushes to piss in. I had a sit with some seven foot tall mullein plants. I talked with them for a while, then I harvested some of their leaves and thanked them. I left the corridor where it intersects with my street, and I had this distinct feeling that I had left one world and entered another. I watched the clouds in the sky with my mouth hanging open like a blissful idiot. As I walked the sidewalk home, my thoughts wandered. I thought of my workmates and employers and how they were great people that I enjoyed working with/for. I thought of my family and my wife and the love I had for them. I thought of my father who passed away a year and a half ago. I probed that particular thought deeply and felt a wave a melancholy. But I felt gladness too. I was thankful I got to spend time with him during his final moments in this life. It seemed as if I had been walking forever when I finally made it back my own apartment. It felt like I hadn't been home in days, but the clock said I was only gone for two hours. I turned my music off and put it away, and then laid on my bed in silence. As I laid on my bed all the chatter in my mind turned off. I couldn't tell where my body ended and the bed began as we began to merge. I didn't experience ego-death per se; it was more of an ego suspension. I lost the concept of "I". Paradoxically "I" simultaneously felt somewhat uncomfortable and more content and comfortable than I have ever felt. At some point I could hear my neighbors talking overly loud in their backyard. I thought without words how that should bother me but it didn't.
About a half hour after I first laid down a bolt of energy surged through me and I sat upright. I was ready to leave again. So I put on some pants and a hoodie and packed my chillum before I went to the small island of woods that is adjacent to the cemetery near my house. Entering the woods was like entering a cathedral. It was quiet, dim and solemn. I was glad I left my music behind. The light filtered through leaves and branches and lit on the forest floor in patches. I immediately left the path and began stalking barefoot through the forest litter. The soft moist earth was firm and yielding. The clumps of moss brought sighs of delight. I hugged trees. I sat with my back to them and watched the hoards of mosquitoes. I inspected the abundant fungus life that broke through the detritus after recent rains. I breathed the air deeply and savored all of the distinct smells. I spun in circles and giggled. I periodically found and followed the path before leaving it again to explore. I walk cautiously through the woods with my eyes closed. I gorged myself on thimble berries-- sweet, tangy and delicious. I found a little area far off the path that local teenagers or college students gather to drink and smoke pot. There were broken bottles, empty baggies and other such garbage strewn about. I found a small fire pit and pulled out some charcoal to draw on a fallen log. I took a hit off of my chillum and began to scrawl flowing curving lines. Charcoal trees morphed out of the lines, a pair of big ominous eyes, some mushrooms. Next to what I drew I wrote "WE EXIST!!!" and i wondered what that meant. Back on the path I found a blue staining bolete that I graffitied with a stick. Now it says "HI!" to all the passers-by. Greetings from the forest's friendly mushrooms. We come in peace. As I walked the path feeling the crackle of life all around me I noticed a brilliant rock that reminded me so much of a jewel that I loudly exclaimed "TREASURE!" but after digging it out of the mucky soil, and examining it for a long time wondering just what this profound thing I found was. I realized it was a dirty lump of cement. I laughed uproariously.
After a subjectively long while I began to come down. The sun was starting to set and I planned on going to my favorite spot in the cemetery to finish what was left in my chillum. Before I made it out of the woods, I noticed a trail that I had never before seen. It was new, somebody had recently gone off path, and I had this deep visceral urge to follow it. This time I did find treasure. As I followed this trail I came upon a large patch of chanterelles. Their bright yellow-orange flesh looked almost neon compared to the soil and foliage that was near them. Further along the trail I found yet another, albeit smaller patch. A gift of mushrooms from the mushrooms. I sat and talked with them for a while. I picked as many as I thought was ethical and thanked them. Then I loaded them up on a piece of birchbark and took them home. When the chanterelles were securely in my fridge, I loaded a movie on the computer and I walked back to my sister's apartment to feed the cat and water her plants. The walk was euphoric and contemplative. I repetedly met people on the street that I thought I recognized, but after I grinned and waved to them I relaized I had never seen them before. When I made it home, for the last time that day, I was weary but contented. I dished up some of the food I made earlier, and made some popcorn. Then I watched the movie Stardust to give my brain a mindless reprieve before I went to bed.