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Scottish Summer Day

Everything I write is fiction.

Everything I write is fiction. Including this paragraph.

Friday afternoon. 2:45 pm. With perfect timing, the last few 'shrooms (rice-cake grown cubensis) had come up in time to provide me with 2 dried grams, and my companion, A, with about 1.2 dried grams. Reason for the disparate weights? I'm 6' 2" and weigh 19 stone, A is slightly shorter but about 5 stone lighter. For our first time out we decided to keep the doses down to a reasonable level, let us get used to the 'shrooms before heading out into the wilds of the Big Trips.

The location, a remote (ish) part of the East Scotland coastline on an absolutely gorgeous day. Bright, sunny, warm and dry, all fairly rare conditions for this part of the world, especially all together! We left the car and started walking. In an area screened by trees, the 'shrooms were carefully consumed, with a little fizzy apple juice to help them down. Various trip reports go on about the bitter taste, which we were expecting, but these tasted delicious. Vaguely nutty, and somewhat chewy but quite pleasant. The apple juice was needed more to make sure all the dry, powdery bits went down the neck, rather than to disguise the flavour. 15-20 minutes brisk walk brought us to a high point, overlooking about 100 yards of grassy heath, then the sea. By now, there was definitely Something Happening, so we sat down for 20 minutes to let it come upon us fully.

I had to keep resisting the temptation to ask "Are you getting anything?" every 3 minutes or so, because I'd taken a higher dose, and there is something specially annoying about someone you're with having a Good Time on drugs, when you're not. It came on very subtly; the sea was sparklier than usual, the wind smelled sweeter, and for a while it was hard to pick out the effects of the 'shrooms from the effects you'd feel if you sat down in a beautiful place on a lovely summer day after weeks of shitty weather. So we sat in silence and just enjoyed. We did see some entities, but they were definitely there for real. A pair of very small deer/very large hares, (sorry I can't be more specific but our perceptions *were* somewhat skewed!) were chasing around at very high speed, bouncing in and out of the bracken and gorse and we watched them entranced for a while.

After 20 minutes A suggested we move on, find somewhere else to go. This was not a success. I was very aware of a distinct disassociation between 'me' and 'my body', which I thought of as the 'meat puppet' or 'meat machine'. We were trying to negotiate unfamiliar, hilly, hummocky, grassy terrain. I could only do it if I moved with great care and caution. My balance, normally excellent, was completely gone. After just a few minutes, we reached a small piece of flat ground and I just dropped. This was as far as we were going.

I've done quite a bit of LSD, though not for 18 months or so, and was aware of the same physical sensations I get on acid: cold nose, mouth cottony but not really dry, painful cheek muscles from grinning manically at everything (the idea that "if smiling hurts, maybe you don't do it often enough" occurred to me, although it never has on acid - I'll have to work on it.).

I had to fight not to impose my trip on A. It was hard to wait for him to voice surprise, or volunteer an observation before asking him to expand on the subject or explain. When he did so, the pleasure I got from the realisation that these things had come upon him of themselves was worth the effort. (I've had good trips go bad on me before when someone else in the room, who'd taken more acid than I had, started going on about the amazing things they were seeing. At the time, all I was getting was a slight wobbling in peripheral vision, and I swiftly wound up being really resentful that this drug was apparently transporting him to realms of ecstasy and wonder, while I got the same effects as looking through a bit of uneven glass. Sitting there thinking "I wish *I'd* taken that much." can sour a trip almost unbelievably quickly.)

We lay on our backs, stared up at the clouds. The realisation came upon me that we at this point were Class A drug users. The terrible menace to society we thus represented, lying here, chewing grass stems and watching cloud patterns....... I didn't stop laughing for quite some time.

The giant frog cloudshape was one I had to point out. When we'd been out to the place briefly a week or so earlier we had seen literally dozens of toads, and a couple of frogs on the walk back to the car. Amphibians. Cool. We watched a kestrel for a while, and when a jet flew overhead I was sure I could see the shock wave forming and boiling around it, even in the clear blue sky. A Toblerone chocolate bar from my backpack had been warmed by the sun to a semi-liquid consistency and I was quite surprised to discover that my taste buds had shut down completely. At one point, A started ramming his fingers into the soft loamy earth, and I think he might have developed this theme further, had not this point coincided with the appearance of the first two people who'd come within three hundred yards all afternoon. They came upon us at a tangent, saw A apparently punching the earth and did the fastest 100-metre nonchalant walk I've seen in a long time. Sparkles of light dotted the clouds, and the grasses waved and left coloured afterimages on my retinas. That gentle tristesse I always get on psychedelics washed through me and was gone. This is it, the peak, it'll be over soon and it'll be a while before we can come back again. Like heading home after the holidays.

The seashore - an amazing place to be. Both of us had the very clear feeling that we hadn't seen beaches like this since we were ten years old. Hard to define - had this stuff opened our eyes to the wonder we saw in childhood, or was it that the wonder had never gone away, but we wouldn't have been on the beach and amongst the rockpools if we hadn't wanted to be away from anywhere public?

A frog corpse, desiccated to a thin leather bag and a white framework, provided ten minutes entertainment. A seagull skeleton - about the same. We marvelled at its lightness, its strength. A fragment of verdigrised copper worn to almost paper-thinness fascinated me, my fingers sliding over its smoothness again and again. The seashore is an amazingly tactile place and I cannot recommend it highly enough, although I seem to have sufficient balance dysfunction on psilocybin that I'll be saving it for the after-peak experience. You won't be so out of it that you'll easily do yourself harm, but you'll still be open to its wonder. It is extremely fractal; waves, sand, rocks, clouds, splash patterns, foam, shells, driftwood, debris... you get the idea.

The Barbie-torso on a stick in the sand took us both by shock. It seemed that others had been here before us, in the same kind of mood we were in. It was almost hairless, arms outstretched as if crucified, with a sharp stick rammed into the torso to keep it upright. It still had that ghastly smile on its face (yeah, I know, what other expression would it have?), which only served to make the illusion even more unpleasant. Later on, we found an almost new training shoe, judging by the labels, an expensive brand. We hung it on a stick, and considered this our contribution to the beach totems.

By now it was hard to distinguish the effects of the chemicals from the general buzz you get from being outdoors and paying attention. By the time we arrived back at the car, dusk was falling. We'd been out for a little over four hours all told, with about 45 minutes to an hour of peak kicking in at around 60-90 mins after ingestion on almost empty stomachs. The trip duration is taken from the time by the car clock on arrival and departure. I cannot be more accurate about the other measurements as we deliberately took no watches. I've hung up on too many acid trips watching the video clock trying to see if my time sense is knackered.

For my first time on a decent amount of 'shrooms, an almost euphoric time. No unpleasant sensations at all, no nausea, and the 'shrooms even tasted good. No sour moments on the trip at all. Not one point when I got caught up in internal mind-games as I sometimes do on acid, rather than remember to enjoy the trip. (I'm aware that I'm describing it in negative terms, but I tried putting it in positive terms and it sounded appallingly gushy. I'll leave that to the Xtians, thank you.) I have had small doses of Semilanceata before, but usually just a small amount of tea, enough for lightly heightened awareness. Usual problems - 15 people, 100 'shrooms - only way to make sure everybody gets something Next time, A plans to take 2 dried grams as well, and I think I'll leave my own dosage at that for a while. I am looking forward to trying higher doses, but I would really like more of a chance to practice on the nursery slopes for a while.

I'll see you on the peaks soon enough.

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