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Seriously! Not all trees are good, some are bad!

    Here's what happened. It was the end of summer here in Michigan, October 8th, to be precise. However, for some reason the weather was beautiful; 80 degrees during the day and around 70 at night. Just beautiful. I was kind of bummed about summer ending, me leaving my teenage years behind, and the cold Michigan winter moving in, so I really wanted to do something to get the most out of the season before it was gone. I got ahold of the blue meanies from a friend and I knew what had to happen. Me, my good friend C, and our friends T and A set out to the Local state park on the evening of the 8th with 10.5 g's. I could write for pages about what happened before we actually ate them, because for some reason, no matter how insignificant the preparations may have been (setting up the tent, scouting the path to the beach, breaking them up on the cover of my French book, etc...) it all holds so much emotional importance for me simply because they were tied to that evening.

    Anyways, it was about 11:30pm when we finally got them divvied up and put into sandwiches. Once everything was in order we took a sleeping bag, a box of juice pouches, a gallon of water, and our sandwiches down to the beach. We all lay on the sleeping bag and ate what we had, all joking about how ridiculous we must look with our juice pouches and sandwiches. The view was incredible, across the bay was a town of about 10,000. From where we were sitting we could see about 5 miles of city lights reflecting off of the water about 5 miles away. The first noticeable difference came when we were all lying on our backs watching the clouds move in front of the stars. A large hole in the clouds appeared and gave us the most incredible view of the milky way. This seemed to trigger something in all of us, and it was decided that we would leave T to guard the supplies from wild animals, and the rest of us would go to the car to roll up some cigarettes.  When we told T to guard  our things from animals we were joking... weren't we in for a surprise?

    Once we got to the car things began to take hold. None of us could work the locks on the car, C had to reach her arm through the window and manually release it. I don't remember if we ever got the tobacco. While we were standing outside of the car, generally losing composure, C began telling us about this cartoon that she used to watch as a child. There was this artist that lived in the forest, and "...he could talk with all the trees!! Can you imagine that?! I mean, like, now I feel like I can.. you know? It's like they're all alive and they want to help us just like they helped the artist! ..but not all the trees were good! Seriously!! (in response to A and I having hysterical fits) some trees are bad!! ..and sometimes they.. Holy shit! Why is the fire so big?!" You get the idea. When we got back to the beach we found T wrapped up in the sleeping bag with the supplies sprawled around. When he saw us he said something like "It's about fucking time! There was a goddamn cougar in the water!!" We were all like "Oh ha ha.. yeah right T.."

    I failed to mention that there was a lighthouse on the south end of this beach (and when I say beach I mean unspoiled shoreline) The energy was really beginning to flow and we had the idea to go on an adventure to the lighthouse. Unfortunately the rain was also beginning to flow, so we headed to the car first so T could get his a poncho. THAT was an ordeal! A tried the help T into this hooded garbage bag looking thing, and it was my job to hold the flashlight. I wound up on the ground with C laughing until tears spilled down my cheeks. I can't explain what was so funny, but imagine two tripped out friends combining forces in an attempt to put on a poncho.

    Once it was on we began our trek to the lighthouse. No more than 30 ft. away from our campsite C stood at the top of a small dune and said: "I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna run down it." That she did. I remember seeing her disappear from sight and hearing the dull "thud" sound of flesh hitting sand. I should mention that C had dreadlocks at the time, freshly waxed. The sand had a heyday with her.    

    Things were dandy until we were about 50 meters from the structure.I remember A saying that he couldn't stop imagining some old man pushing that light around all night. "What if that's the only reason he's alive, to make sure the light goes around?!" I also remember that the sand/weeds turned a sharp green and began flowing like an airport people mover. About that time my knees went out, I began pouring sweat, and I started tasting what I had eaten earlier. While I was kneeling on the ground, waiting for the inevitable, I looked up and I saw T, in all his ponchoed glory; hands on his hips facing the shore, regally wearing his garbage bag toga and keeping watch over his ill friend. Then I looked to the right, towards the lighthouse. I caught the end of a light sweep, and I thought I may have seen something near to us on the ground. I dismissed it as the obvious, but on the next pass we were all aware of it. "What was that?? Was that... It's a fox!!" (T) "I fucking told you guys, I fucking told you!" (in mid stride) It was no cougar, but nonetheless, in our state a black footed fox no more that 20 ft away had an effect on us.

    We got back to the tent, A, C, and I decided to go to the bathrooms because C wanted to try and get some of the sand off of her. T stayed to fend off the fox. (with a flashlight) Somehow between our campsite and the bathrooms the wind picked up to about 40 mph, lightning began to flash everywhere, and it began raining like nobody's business. It was incredible, for the 2 or 3 minutes it took to get to the bathrooms it was like being violently killed and reborn over and over. The flash of light and boom of thunder drowned out our other senses, as soon as the sound dissipated we could feel a wave of cold rain all over our bodies. It was incredible.

    The bathroom was a different thing altogether, all 3 of us packed in the Women's restroom giggling about foxes and C's hair, which did not get any cleaner, it just got muddy instead of sandy. I remember looking very closely in the mirror, until I could see a reflection in the pupil of my eye. We spent most of our time in front of the mirrors, and laughing at how much of a mud ball C was.

    When we got back I joined T in the tent, while C and A went into the car to get out of the weather. I don't know what it was, but something finally got to me while I was laying in the tent with T. This is the only part of the trip that I would consider difficult. While I was laying there I had the feeling of melting into the ground, then the sound of wind and rain turned into the sound of car engines, horns, sirens and brakes. These sounds would build up to a crescendo and then recede, only to peak again like violent waves battering a ship. All the while I kept having vivid closed eye visuals, with the violent sounds came images of cold jail cells, flashing lights and, wait for it, tentacles. Yep, tentacles. I don't know why, but they were evil tentacles. When the sounds momentarily receded I was awash with images of places I've been and loved, places I want to go, and feelings of indescribable joy. I was suddenly in the Pivovar U Fleku restaurant in Praha, I was in Ribeauville France, I was in a disco in East Germany. Then I saw places I've never even been, but I knew that I someday would visit. I was in Thailand, Cambodia, Tibet...

    Once the storm subsided and everyone returned to the tent the mood was generally high again. It was unanimously agreed that I should fetch the oranges out of the cooler. When I reached into the cooler I froze. I could feel deep water, (that was moving) mud, and debris flowing around in that small sandwich cooler. I nervously asked if they were sure that they were in the cooler, when I got a "yes" a clenched my fist and pulled out fast. Words cannot describe the feeling of triumph that I felt as I held that bag of oranges high in the air.

    If the mood was high, the oranges shot it through the stratosphere. We were like little kids; we played with them, smelled them, squeezed them, but we didn't dare eat them. They brought us far to much enjoyment to violently tear into them. T took his, looked at it, and immediately began cuddling it as if it were his child.

    Once the oranges were set aside, we fell into a pattern of alternating between giddy conversation, truly intense conversation, and periods of silence where we all breathed in unison. During the silence I had some of the most important revelations of my life. I was thinking more about Thailand, I could see it! At that moment I was hit with everything I've ever asked myself about my life. I knew what I had to do; I had to study abroad, I had to find a job that I loved, not needed, I had to be better to people. I realized that you only get one life and then you're done. I understood that I couldn't waste my time on this earth grasping at money, that there is far more to life than that. I saw the most beautiful mixture of colors, sun, and I don't know how to explain it, but I saw love! When I opened my eyes I could see through the screen that the clouds had went away, and that the stars had never before looked as pure and sharp as they did then. Right then I was filled with so much love that I felt like I might burst, I wanted to reach over and hug my friends with tears in my eyes. I wanted to tell everyone I knew how much they mean to me, especially the people that I had shared that experience with.

    The next day only C and I were, left. The other two had previous obligations for the morning.  We spent the day wandering around the hiking trails and sleeping. We would wander somewhere, find a flat surface, and sleep. This continued until about 6:00 when we knew we couldn't put it off any longer. We left the campsite behind. It was sad to bring an end to such an amazing experience, but I know that I'm a far better person for it.


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