Sacred mushroom intoxication is by nature anti-time and anti-dimensional. It¹s the intensity of ones religious understanding and spiritual preparation that gives one enough energy for the luck required to unveil what human beings rarely, if ever see. Strict religious preparation stacks the deck of wisdom, and the sacred mushroom deals the cards of the inconceivable onto the table of spiritual transfiguration. It¹s a gamble I happened to win one time, by luck. It happened about five years ago. I lived by myself in an apartment in Latham, NY. I had an extra room dedicated to growing the sacred mushroom. By then being able to grow them was second nature, no big deal. It was only back in April that I had taken the mushroom and gotten a job the next day, a job that had been eluding me for several months. I was not interested in taking them again for awhile so I accumulated a pretty big stash. One night a friend called up to see if I wanted to go to a Grateful Dead concert. I usually required a crowbar to go out anywhere, homebody that I am. So, as usual, it took a heck of a lot of prodding to get me to go, even to a special event like ŒThe Dead¹. Wayne drove up to my apartment, and with a bit more encouragement we left for the concert, which took place at the Knickerbocker Arena in Albany. He had another friend with him, ŒEarl The Pearl¹. ŒEarl The Pearl¹ was pretty much one of those people who are their own cartoon. Sometimes I¹d have to check myself to see whether I was watching a cartoon on TV, or him. One way I guess I could describe him is that he was a hillbilly not adverse to wearing a tuxedo if it might end up getting him a female companion, or a beer. He was a party at all costs type of personality with a grainy, soulful voice, and a never ending zest for life. He smoked too much, drank heavy, and played the guitar too. When the three of us got down to Albany, the streets were filled with hippies. It was like going back in time a couple of decades. All those young hippy girls, free as the wind; all the booths of street venders selling hippy clothes, beads and ŒDead¹ paraphernalia, the smell of reefer in the breeze and the buzz of acid in the undertow, all made for a surprising revival for me. We never got into the concert, but the street scene was show enough in itself. From the Knick you could hear the pounding of muffled music, but on the streets there were isolated groups playing their own songs with all kinds of drums, acoustic guitars and dancing. What a slap in the face a scene like that must have been to the dignitaries of our contemporary culture. A culture predicated on establishing a solid core of fear and mistrust within each individual by means of the media¹s ceaseless indoctrinations concerning guns, drugs, the welfare state, domestic violence and how criminal and maladjusted all us folks in America have. If they can get us to the point where we can¹t even trust ourselves anymore, then they¹ve nailed us. If they can get us to the point where we have to spend billions upon billions upon billions for more prisons, more surveillance, more police and more government involvement in private lives, then they¹ve nailed us. If they can get us to the point of hating the poor, the helpless and the broken, then they¹ve nailed us. If they can get us to the point of being isolated from each other, and finking on each other if we so much as pass gas in the wrong direction, then they¹ve nailed us. Then we are no longer Americans, but the unwitting victims of our greatest fear government syndicated reality. America should be a festival of freedom, and not a prison state run by power hungry morons who wouldn¹t know what real freedom was if somebody came by and shoved a flagpole up their a certain portion of their body and waved them around like Old Glory in the sun. As soon as the concert was over the police spewed in, mounted on stallions with their white helmets gleaming, their billy clubs dangling and their fully licensed and registered guns inside the holsters around their waists. They formed a line of horses and swept the festival out like so much dirt with a broom. It was aggravating to be pushed around like that, but all the hippy kids seemed to be used to it. It felt like the party was just beginning with all the dancing and the music. The Knickerbocker Arena had made its money, the State had taken its share. The big boys had sucked in their profits, and to them that was the be all and end all of America. Sucking in the profits at all costs, including freedom. In a system such as this not only is there no room for the lowly hordes of society, but they¹re considered a nuisance and a threat, especially if that detestable disease they once called Œfreedom¹ has a chance to spread. So we got in Wayne¹s truck and drove back to my apartment. When Earl found out I had mushrooms, he was relentless in his asking me to give him some. He wanted me to take them too. I¹d had a couple of beers so I was a little less disciplined than I might normally be, so I broke them out. The Pearl immediately grabbed one, popped it in his mouth and began to munch. ³Mmmm,² he said. ³These are good. They taste like crackers. They need a little salt though.² So I got some salt and we sprinkled it generously over the chewy mushroom morsels. They were chewy because they were only nearly dry, having come from a more recent flush. The flavor of Psilocybe cubensis was never very appealing to me. They always seemed to have a slight medicinal bitterness to them. But for some reason, Earl¹s suggestions that they taste like crackers made them more appealing in flavor that evening. I must have eaten about seven or eight Earl a little more than I. I considered this to be a modest amount. And since I hadn¹t planned on tripping, I didn¹t think getting blown away was a very good idea. Our plan was to drive to Wayne¹s in Coxsackie, a town about 35 minutes to the south. Me and Earl went in my car and Wayne drove alone. Wayne didn¹t take any mushrooms since he was in AA and he was afraid that taking them would get him started on other things again. The river road from New Baltimore to Coxsackie is extremely winding and hilly. I chose the back roads because I wasn¹t in the mood to have any unexpected conversations with police officers. It was about 2 AM on a Saturday morning and if you want to get stopped, that¹s about the best time to do it. Earl had brought a few mushrooms for the road so we continued to munch. I don¹t think we really needed them though because we weren¹t even in Coxsackie, when the car began to float. ³Slow down!² Earl yelled. ³Yeah, you¹re right² I replied, ³I am going too fast.² The car appeared to be oozing rapidly up and down the hills and around deep, consuming curves. But when I looked at the speedometer, we were only going 15 MPH much too slow! When I informed Earl of this he was as shocked as I was, then quickly put the bag of remaining mushrooms away. Earl needed cigarettes, so we both went into Cumberland farms, tripping heavily. Earl was acting very weird. He had contorted and incongruent facial expressions which struck me as being hilarious. It made it even more funny when he looked at me as if I were the one acting unusual. I couldn¹t control my laughter, and the nastier the glare from the cash register girl, the more I had to laugh. Amazingly, Earl struck up a long, drawn out conversation with the cash register girl. Really stupid and unusual stuff, like the texture of Slim Jim¹s or something. He acted as if he were rapping about the weather, but I could tell she knew something was way out of whack. After having spent an eternity of eternal moments that oscillated back and forth between complete embarrassment and utter hilarity inside Cumberland Farms with the cash register girl, we finally made it out the door, only to realize we¹d forgotten to get cigarettes, or anything for that matter. We simultaneously burst into a long bout with laughter. I was afraid the cash register girl might consider calling the police at that point, so we went to Stewart¹s to get cigarettes instead, and this time I stayed in the car. Thank God Wayne¹s house was only a few blocks away, because driving had becoming increasingly difficult. When we arrived at Wayne¹s house he had already turned the lights out and gone to bed. We got out of the car and stood there wondering what to do now. The warm summer night was cloaked with an eery electric thickness. The world was sleeping, but me and Earl were primed to give birth to a couple of new ones! The mushrooms had been stronger than I expected. Many parameters can effect the amount of psilocybin that is produced in a mushroom, even within the same family. I must have inadvertently nailed a couple of them with this batch, because I was decidedly fringing on Œnever never¹ land. Earl suggested that we go inside and play music, but I could barely talk, and music playing didn¹t sound very appealing to me at that moment. In addition to that, I didn¹t want to keep Wayne up all night by bouncing off his walls Œtill the next day, so I told Earl I was going for a walk, and asked him if he¹d like to come along. He said no, so I took off alone. In a way, I was glad we parted ways, because I had become too intense to be with anybody. When I left, I got the impression that I was leaving a lonely puppy behind and yelling ³Stay!² as I proceeded down the road. The next hour or two was a nightmare. It was dark. The country road before me was void of cars, as the plant life loomed around me in scornful animation. I began to recapitulate how awful my life had turned out, and how much of a failure I was. Bankruptcy, divorce, not being able to be with my son, and on and on in an endless loop of self recrimination. Failure upon failure was planted, germinated, sprouted and blossomed into wicked, black trees with thorns, and in their density I recognized how unremittingly they tore at my soul. Even the things I thought I did good seemed bad, like writing songs. I had prided myself on being a decent song writer, but in the frame of mind I was in as I continued down the road, it was clear that my songs now sucked. Some of my most sincere hopes now seemed like the useless concoctions of a desperate egotist. As I entered the village I began walking past the many houses and the people inside were all watching me. Me, the dark man, the halloween man, the gremlin, the ghoul, masquerading as the holy one. They were all whispering bad things about me, and about themselves. I heard all their sins, and their blackest atrocities as they watched me through the dark windows. Their faces were white with terror and fear. Each house had its own outlandish dementia, its own surrealistic cruelty. A thousand confessions and repentant murmurings infiltrated my awareness. I felt like I was in the universal confessional box, an intermediary with little capacity to forgive. I was inundated with the core of human madness and suffering and I felt if I could only keep my eyes on the road that wavered a few feet before me, if I could only keep walking, I would be able to go on. I made a turn for another friends house, which was about two miles from Wayne¹s. I don¹t know why I went there, maybe just to take up the time, not knowing where else to go. It was probably about 4 AM or so, and if I knocked I would wake the whole family up, so I went into their yard with thoughts a lying down somewhere and riding out the storm. As I perused Frank¹s yard I noticed that he was putting in a stone walkway. I could barely see it in the darkness, but what I did see was a bunch of stones very oddly placed. If one were to walk on the walkway, one would have had to hop along from stone to stone. I began the hop, and it struck me as ludicrous and altogether funny that they be aligned in such a way. I mean, why put stones down in such a manner if it forced people to jump around just to walk on them? The laughter really turned the tide for me. Within an instant my mood was elevated and upbeat. With a fresh burst of good energy, I decided to stroll down to the Coxsackie boat launch. When I arrived at the small park which held the launch and buttressed the river, dawn began to trickle in. I walked across the large lawn and looked up at the sky. It was streaked with a pronounced purple splendor. I couldn¹t believe how beautiful it was. I¹d never seen or noticed anything like it at that hour. The beauty hit me hard. Every three or so steps I voiced an expletive like, ³Wow! or, ³Oh, my God!² The lushness of the moment was dizzying. Thank God there was no one up at that hour to see me walking across that lawn in such a manner because I¹m sure they would have thought I was stark raving mad. When I arrived at the beach I could see picnic tables scattered around. I remembered that at a certain point I was tired, even though now I was wide awake, and proceeded to lay down, face up on a table close to the river. Then I watched the stars. The mixture of the dawn and the stars gave the entire cosmic panorama a three dimensional effect. Each star had its own color. There were red, green, blue and yellow ones, and they were all joined by a massive grid work made of thin girders of light, all in pristine detail. The sheer depth and utter grandeur of creation¹s grid work went on forever. That¹s when it happened. My immediate description of it was that it felt like sexual intercourse, but without sex. God came down and married me, or something. It was a startling, ineffable union. It was the purest of pure love, and a day hasn¹t gone by in my life without recalling its extreme depth and power. Suddenly, everything was clear and there were no more questions. Without words, God told me why He made creation. He related, within His pronounced silence, that He exists alone as love in its purest infinite form; that He Is Eternal Bliss. His love is so infinitely profuse it became imperative that He share it. So he made a creation of its own volition and only apparently apart, so that it could come to love the love of the Lover; so that He could see His love being enjoyed. He explained that suffering and tragedy are his rites of entry into this love, and His mysterious way of unfolding it all fully. After an indeterminable time had transpired, I began to weep uninhibitedly, in deep love and gratefulness for this time, as the sun began to peak above the horizon, turning the entire river a brilliant orange. The reason God decided to throw me a bone, I¹ll never know, at least in this lifetime. I like to think it was because of the intense internal purgation I¹d gone through, but I think that would be conceited. The bottom line is, His ways are always inexplicable. They must be, for Him to love me, even when I¹m screwing around with mushrooms.