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The Forest of Night

An alternate title for this report could be, Second Time Sublime.

An alternate title for this report could be, Second Time Sublime. My friend Dave insisted we visit this magic place, a place I had visited before and thought to be actually a little gloomy. But, as it turned out, there was a lot more to this place than I could see without the aid of magic mushrooms. This place has become for me a fairy tale magical forest, the Forest of Night. Picture this: a place where once a stagnant pond stood, now dried up and overgrown with a lush, almost tropical greenery. Darkest green grass, great wands of purple flowers, a clearing carved out into an almost perfect circle by the pond that used to be. You are sitting cross legged with your friends in the centre, on a soft carpet of underbrush, surrounded by forest. The area is lit by two streetlights: one white, and one yellowish orange, which together create a sort of daylight. You have eaten the magic mushrooms, and realize now that you are experiencing a secret day in the middle of the night. White moths become night's butterflies. Little white flowers, closed by night's kiss, are as handsewn lace upon the ground. You take all this in, and decide to wander around; you venture down a path into the forest, where the shadows created by the two lights crossing over one another among the leaves make a psychedellic, purple and blue water that flows over your hands and arms when you wave them in the air. Your friends join you in the forest shadows; their eyes shine like animals' in the darkness, but you are not afraid. You dream yourself a nymph, feel your physical body dissipate like fog, yet you remain. You then imagine yourself all bone, growing up towards the sky and reaching like a tree towards the stars you can't quite see, and then you can't feel your muscle or skin. In fact, you're not sure you're their at all, not in the traditional sense of being anyway. You venture off alone, down another path, and find yourself sitting on a downed tree. The bark of the log is glowing with colour, which snakes up your legs, your body, your arms until you are painted like a figure on a cave, painted by the first man, or the first man yourself. You laugh and light a cigarette, wonder how you could have ever thought this place other than magic. You leave the night world of forest for the simulated daylight of the clearing, but it keeps speaking to your brain, telling it it's broad daylight, and you feel warmed by the glow. You pick white, lacy umber from beneath trees on the edge of the clearing, those great upturned umbrellas woven of tiny white flowers, and place a sheaf in your hair, and in the hair of your friend beside you. You have been blessed by this place, you can carry a part of its magic with you as you walk back to the city - which is really only a few metres away. But you pause on the outskirts and sit on a park bench with your friend, your other friends rousing themselves from various states of waking dream to join you, and before your eyes a silkworm, on a cord of invisible silk, drops very carefully and slowly before you. You feel you are being visited by the caterpiller from Alice in Wonderland, in that this creature is magic because it is of the magic place, and perhaps it - and your friends - are the only creatures who know the true beauty and magic of it. The mushrooms you have eaten have not shown you a whole new world; instead, it has given you a new perspective on the world that was there all along. You pick up a long stick for walking, and venture back to the road. For the entire journey home, you are as slow and careful as the silkworm descending on its thread, or as any creature endowed with magic moves with grace and wisdom back to the places they hold dear, and the people they love.

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