Sky, "So you're a full fledged chiropractor now?"
Penelope, "Yes I am. I can't believe you're standing in front of me. What are you doing here?!"
Sky, "I came down a week or so ago with my friend Nate from New York. We've been picking mushrooms."
Penelope, "What fun!"
Sky takes his knapsack off his back, opens it and offers her some.
Penelope: "Thank you. How are your parents?" She eats a mushroom.
Sky, "Good, very good. I'll stop and see them on my way back to Buffalo. I'll stop in the City and visit the ashram, too, if there's time. Have you been keeping up?"
Penelope, "Yes I have."
Sky: "Me too. I've also branched out into Chi Gung. How's your mom?"
Penelope, "She moved down here with me. We bought adjoining houses on six acres of woods on about the only hill in Florida. It's nice. I'm near the parklands. You have to come stay with me for a few days."
Sky, "We will."
Sky: "Tomorrow. We're staying here tonight and then a friend is taking us to some fields tomorrow."
Penelope takes a pen from her pocket.
Penelope, "Do you have a journal or something in that backpack which you won't lose?"
Sky takes out a bound, red book.
Sky, "I won't lose this."
She writes her address and directions down.
Nate looks over; Sky waves him close.
Sky, "Nate, this is my friend Penelope. We grew up together. Our parents went to the same ashram and we had the same teacher. She lives around here now. She has invited us to come and stay at her place for a few days."
Penelope, "Hi Nate."
Nate, "Hello. Hey, why are you drinking that beer?
There are kegs of Newcastle."
Penelope, "Wow, Newcastle. These boys don't skimp."
She smiles and laughs.
Nate gets her a cup of Newcastle.
Nate, "It's been a little tight at times. We practically hadn't eaten all day before coming here"
Penelope, "I'll feed you well at my place."
Penelope, "Have you taken many pictures here, Nate?"
Nate, "No, not yet. I'm going to get the rest of the mushrooms and give them out before it gets too late, then I'll do some photography. Excuse me a few moments."
Nate exits. Penelope and Sky dance.
Nate returns through a side door not far from the beer kegs. He pauses by two guys.
Nate, "Would you guys like some mushrooms?"
Guy 1, "Heard somebody had some. How much?"
Guy 1: "Wow, sure. Thank you."
Nate walks to another section of the garage. He approaches a group of young people.
Nate, "Hey you kids want to eat some fantastic fungi?"
Girl: "No. No thank you."
Boy, "No, we're good just to drink tonight."
Nate is by another door. He spots Jeff and nods his head. Jeff mouths "Come here." Nate walks out.
Jeff, "Hey my friend. Have some of this smoke."
Nate, "I was wantin' some of that. Thanks." Nate puffs from a joint.
Jeff, "I love how many Volkswagens there are here."
Nate, "Yeah, a lot of Volvos, too."
Jeff, "Check that out – a van converted to a pick-up
Nate, "Neat. Do you have one?"
Jeff: "Yeah, a microbus - my brother and I do."
Nate, "Have you guys toured?"
Jeff, "A bit, we have. I'd like to do some traveling before school starts back up."
Nate, "You go to college here in Tallahassee?"
Jeff: "Yup. Engineering. You?"
Nate, "I started in biology leaning towards environmental sciences, but now I'm in English. My friend and I might go out to Burning Man after we get home."
Jeff, "Did you sell enough to get you home?"
Nate, "I think so. Hope so. We're going to go pick tomorrow. We found a nice girl to take us in and feed us. Hopefully we won't have to spend any money until it's time to go home."
Nate, "Well, I'm going to get rid of the rest of these."
Jeff, "Are most people giving you $20?"
Nate, "They were. Now I'm just giving them away."
Jeff, "I understand that urge."
Nate walks back into the building. The band is taking a break. Nate approaches them.
Nate, "Hey, you guys are great. Would some mushrooms help your heads?"
Guitarist, "Oh, thanks bro', but we're probably o.k."
Nate, "Totally free, man."
Guitarist, "Hey, anybody want some free mushrooms?"
Drummer, "I do. Thanks."
Basist, "I'll eat two. Cool."
Guitarist, "I'll have a couple. Thank you. Where are you from?"
Nate, "Buffalo, New York."
Guitarist, "Did you come down for the mushrooms?"
Nate, "That was the main reason."
Guitarist, "Do you have any Dead tribute bands up in Buffalo?"
Nate, "We have two. And there are more from surrounding towns. We get our licks."
Guitarist, "Anything special you want to hear?"
Nate, "Yeah, Eyes of the World?"
Guitarist, "Can do."
The Drummer returns with a beer for the Guitarist.
Drummer, "Are these 'shrooms local?"
Nate, "From Tampa area. I've got to go give more away. How much longer will you guys play?"
Guitarist, "Three or four more hours."
Nate passes by some heads talking. We hear some of
Head 1, "Certainly I trust the wisdom of my synapses. When my thoughts spiral outward as manifested by graphs in my visual cortex, the tangent or side spirals are physically sized in proportion to relative connectedness to the central idea abstractly represented. I don't have time to think that out on my own; it just happens. These 'just happenings' are like the machines of my mind replicating and processing information on their own…. Sort of like self replicating machine elves. When memes in my mind flow out into the noosphere around me, they interact with other peoples' and we end up saying things synchronistically. I love..."
Head 2, "I love…"
Head 1, "I love…"
Head 1 and Head 2, in unison, "I love synchronisity."
Head 2, "Synchronisity happens to me a lot when I'm with friends and we separate with the idea to meet back up later… we just intuitively check the time based on an ancient hunch at the right moment. It's like the schooling of fish phenomenon, or the pack group mind."
Head 1, "Right now my thought form projections are jutting out like in flashing lines which are then together encompassed by wise swirls which organize these lines and carry them, and me, beyond into higher and higher, more complex gestalts of mathematical poetry. The balance is beautiful. Psychedelics enhance the tempo and geometry of my vibrational imagings into divine psychedelic resonance."
Head 2, "I feel like an organic angel fractalating into the local noosphere."
Nate makes his way out the front door of the garage.
People are laughing and joking. Some people hacky sack. Nate gets in on this for a moment.
Nate, "You'all enjoying yourselves?"
Guy, "Yeah. We're glad you showed up. Do you want to smoke?"
Nate, "Thanks, I just did a little while ago. Know anybody else who wants mushrooms? I'm giving them away now."
Guy 2, "No, not really. Just ask around. I'm sure they'll go."
Nate, "See you."
Nate passes some hippies sitting around and inside of a Volkswagen bus.
Nate, "Fungus among us. FREE fungus among us!"
Hippie, "What's that?! You're giving away mushrooms?"
Hippie, "What kind?"
Nate, "Psilocybe cubensis, what other kinds have you done?"
Hippie, "Wow, that's generous. I could see giving away Panaeolus, but…cubies…"
Nate, "Some Panaeolus are pretty good. Up in New York Panaeolus subbalteatus are much coveted."
Hippie, "You're from New York? Do you get Amanita muscaria up there?"
Nate, "Yes to both questions. I like Amanitas. They're a different angle."
Hippie, "Wow, would you send me some? I've always wanted to partake."
Nate has produced the bag of cubensis and it is being passed around. Two doses worth are left when it returns to Nate.
Nate, "Give me your e-mail address and I'll see what I can do come fall."
Nate waits while the Hippie writes down the information in Nate's journal.
Nate, "Cool. Enjoy. I want to go give the rest of these away."
Chorus of "Thanks" from the microbus.
Nate walks on. He sees two pretty girls off to his right by a car.
Nate: "Hey, would you sisters like to scarf some fungi?"
Girl 1, "I don't know," she says coyly, "it's kind of late."
Girl 2, "I'd like to eat some. I feel very open tonight. Scarfing 'shrooms seems like exactly the right thing to do. How much do you want?"
Girl 1, "Are you just giving 'em free to the pretty sisters?"
Nate, "The last eight people I gave them to for free were gruff, bearded guys who smelled as bad as I do. There might have been two sisters I gave them to. I already sold all I needed to. These are free. If you want, you can pay me. "
Girl 1, "I'll give you this necklace. Thank you."
Girl 2: "Thanks. I'm Heather."
Girl 1, "Sarah."
Girl 1, "Like the bug?"
Nate, "Like Nathaniel. Well, enjoy." Nate turns and walks away. Out of sight from the girls, he starts swirling his arms and half-skipping.
Back at the interior of the garage, Nate walks up to Penelope.
Nate asks, "Where's Sky?"
Penelope says, "He went with some other boys to load up
more kegs of beer – more Newcastle. The band's going to play all night."
Penelope, "How long have you known Sky?"
Nate, "For about a year. I met him through some friends. We'd seen each other up at the university, but had only nodded heads. Then he started hanging around with one of my housemates; we went to some sweat lodges together and he and I went to a Rainbow; he hooked me up well. He's kind."
Penelope, "Yes. And he's back."
The band starts playing "The Music Never Stopped."
Sky and others put in the tap.
Nate is handed a fresh cup of beer.
The band is playing "Uncle John's Band." Various hippies of the crowd sway to the beat. Sky is talking with Penelope and three other people. Smokey is dance-walking across the floor. Nate is with a group of five people, sharing philosophy "on the road."
Nate refills his free cup. The band sings, "…it's the same story the crow told me it's the only one he knows, like the morning sun you come and like the wind you go…", "ain't no time to hate, barely time to wait…"
A hippie who Nate had given free mushrooms to calls to him from outside the door. Nate walks over.
Hippie, "Hey, Santa Claus. How are you?"
Nate, "Good. You?"
Hippie, "Fantastic. Your gift was so nice. I heard your story, that you rolled up with no money, just some mushrooms you picked, and you need to get back to Vermont. Anybody would've been more than happy to get
you some money so you could continue with your journey."
Nate, "Well, to those whom much has been given…"
Hippie, "I don't suppose you have enough money to buy smoke. Here, I wanted to make sure you had this. It's the best that's been around as far as I can remember."
Hippie hands Nate a piece of paper folded into an envelope. There is a good amount of kind bud marijuana in it.
Nate, "Thank you, I really appreciate this. I know my friends will, too."
Hippie, "I'm glad."
Hippie notices the camera around Nate's neck.
Hippie, "Have you taken a bunch of pictures?"
Nate, "A few. I have ten left on this roll. Come out into the light."
Hippie, "I've been in the light all night. O.k. though."
Hippie does so and Nate takes pictures.
The band starts playing "Eyes of the World."
Sky, "Look at all these happy saints, loving one another."
Nate, "These are our people. They are God's ye'dah."
We see couples embracing and kissing. Others dance.
Band: "…way down discover that You are the song that the morning brings…"
The band finishes with "Not Fade Away."
Everyone chants: "Love is REAL not fade-away!"
Band: "Thank you all for being. Goodnight."
People start milling.
Sky and Nate quickly make their way outside. Drum circles form around campfires. The drumming is primal, tribal and natural to such an event.
There is a drum circle next to Nate and Sky's car. They take out sleeping bags and drink some water.
Nate takes up drumming in a circle. Sky reclines peacefully nearby.
Eventually, both sleep.
In morning, Nate gets up and walks into some scrub trees/bushes.
Bob is squatting next to Sky, talking, when Nate returns to camp.
Bob, "Hey brother, good morning. We need to gear up and go. This is my only day off for a while, so I have to show you where to go."
Nate, "O.k. Let me find Smokey."
Sky, "I'll look too."
Nate is walking down a row of cars and buses, looking around.
From a little camp with cook stove a voice calls him.
Person, "Hey, you hungry?"
Person, "Here you go."
Nate is handed an egg, cheese and pepper burrito. He savors it.
Nate, "Thank you. Mmmm, thank you very much. Hey, we need to leave, and I have to find my one friend. Thanks for breakfast."
The person and his companions smile.
Sky turns down another, then another corridor of vehicles and sees Smokey sleeping, curled up in a sleeping bag, with the dready girl from the college. He gently nudges Smokey on the shoulder.
Sky, "Hey friend, we need to go. Bob has only this day off, and we have picking to do."
Smokey, "Hey, Sky. You guys go ahead. I'm going to spend some time with Jessica. You have my e-mail, and I got yours. I'm still going to try to make it up to Buffalo, but just not now. I love you. Where's Nate?"
Sky, "He's looking for you."
Smokey, "Here, take some of the money I got."
Sky, "No, you hang onto it. We have enough. You sure about this?"
Jessica draws Smokey close, her eyes having remained shut.
Smokey, "I have enough right here. Good luck."
Sky, "O.k. my friend. Here, let me give you the number we'll be staying at."
Sky copies Penelope's number and hands the paper to Smokey.
Smokey sits up some.
He looks to his left, past Sky.
Nate walks up.
Nate, "Hey, he found you."
Smokey, "Come here bro'."
Nate and Smokey hug.
Smokey, "Thanks for getting me here. I'm going to stay with Jessica. I've got your number and your e-mail. I'll stay in touch."
All pause a few seconds.
Nate, "Well Sky, we have to go. Later Smokey."
Nate and Sky return to their car.
Sky, "That was weird. Smokey hooked us up with a lot of good situations."
Nate, "Yeah. I miss the mountains. It's so flat down here."
Sky, "Umm, o.k."
Bob, "What's up?"
Nate, "Smokey is going to stay with a friend of his. It's just us now."
Bob, "O.k. let's roll. It's already 11:30. We'll just all go in your car."
They get in the car and drive down the long driveway.
They pass a bridge over the Suwannee River.
Nate, "My friend back home said there were lot's of pastures along the river."
Bob, "There are, however they're all quite a ways down. None are accessible except by boat, and you'd have to row for miles. It would be quite a haul going by foot. This farm I'm taking us to is the best
around. In fact, it's the only one. A lot of the farmers also give their cattle salt licks with a fungicide, to prevent Psilocybe cubensis from growing.
The big commercial farms do this. Psilocybe could become endangered. There are other mushrooms which grow directly on cow dung, too, but they don't care about species diversity. And those fungicides get into
the environment and effect all mushroom species. It's ecocide."
They pass a logging plant. Bob sticks his middle finger up at it.
"Fucking bastards. Look at those trees. They're seventy-five years old at least. And probably from state lands, too. When are the assholes going to learn. You can get four times as much paper from an acre of hemp as you can from an acre of trees. And you can grow another acre of hemp year after year."
Sky, "Tell me about it!"
On a farm road. There are some trees. A cleared area is discernable up ahead.
"Pull over here. I've talked to the farmer before. He's cool with us picking on his land, but said to watch out for his wife. We'll walk through the woods."
Sky parks the car and they set out.
Emerging from the woods into the fields. There are trails in the woods and the farmhouse is barely visible from where they are. They begin picking mushrooms. By late afternoon their bags are full and
Bob, "Nice, we probably have four pounds dry, altogether. I'm just going to give you guys what I picked."
Nate, "Wow, thank you man."
Sky, "That's very generous."
Bob, "I can come here anytime. Where are you guys going to go dry? Back at Nimbus Farm?"
Nate, "Sky knows a girl who has a house outside of town."
Sky, "Penelope Bailey."
Bob, "I don't know her."
They start walking.
Back inside the car,
Sky, "Let us at least get you something to eat."
Bob, "Hey man, I'm not a dirty vagabond hippie anymore. I work. Let me get you guys something to eat."
They pull into a restaurant.
Seated at a table inside the restaurant, Nate eats a large omelet, Sky flapjacks and eggs, Bob several tacos.
Nate, "That was a righteous scene last night. I listened to a lot of good conversations. People were acting as a tribe, as a community, not as individual egos."
Bob, "They're good people, loving people. And your mushrooms helped
as a catalyst to something more.
Psychedelics show us that the modalities of appearance
and understanding can be shifted so that we can know mind within the context of the Psychedelic One Mind. The One Mind contains all experiences of the Other. The psilocybin molecule has the unique property of releasing the structured ego into the Overself, and yet doing so through structured syntax. And in communication with CERTAIN people, shall I say, the experience seems to shift around the cosmic sands: creating new eddies, drifts, rippling in concentric patterns of elegantly programmed meaning. The experience makes sense. For society to focus in this direction, nothing is necessary except for this experience to become an object of general regard."
Sky, "Indeed. Once only professors and specialists ruled these realms. A revolution has occurred, and mass portions of our population are becoming enlightened this way."
Bob, "Society is being transformed. People go to Phish shows, and hemp festivals, Rainbow Family of Living Light Gatherings and other peace gatherings and they take something life changing back to their every day lives. The urge to help others in their journeys has become very strong. I've been so happy to help you guys. I know what happened last night is going to take place in Buffalo, New York because of what you two are doing."
A luminous knowingness pervades them, and in their silence there is much shared content.
They finish eating. Bob pays. They walk out the door.
Pulling up the driveway of Nimbus Farm,
Bob, "Nate, you have my phone number. Let me give you my e-mail. Drop me a line from time to time."
The farm is nearly deserted. A few stragglers remain.
They pull up next to Bob's Jetta.
Sky, "Thanks Bob."
Nate, "You embody the spirit of the grateful dead – you did something wonderful for us without any hope of recompense."
Bob smiles. He flashes the peace sign.
Driving on a highway.
Pulling up the wooded driveway to Penelope's home.
They park the car and get out. Dogs run up to greet them. One is a Border Collie. Nate pets this one. Penelope greets them.
Penelope, "Hello, boys. How was picking?"
Sky, "Pretty damn good."
Penelope, "Did you find the place alright?"
Sky, "No problem."
Penelope, "Well, I hope you're hungry. I've made a four course meal. Vegetarian, of course, I hope Nate likes his vegetables."
Sky, "He's a vegetarian."
They enter the house. It is clean, tastefully decorated. It is rustic contemporary style.
Sky, "I hope we have time for showers. I haven't showered in a real bathroom in a very long time."
Nate, "We haven't showered in a very long time."
Penelope, "Set you bags in the living room. There are towels beneath the sink."
Sky, "I'm first."
Penelope, "Would you like a beer, Nate? I have Bass and Harp."
Nate, "Bass would be delish. That, too, is a favorite beer."
She hands him a bottle and he looks around, reading titles from the bookshelf in her dining room.
Nate, "Nice. You have a lot of Julia Kristeva. I like her."
Penelope, "She's good."
Nate, "Oh, and Edward Abbey. Right on. You have the Monkey Wrench Gang, Fire on the Mountain, Fool's Progress. Oh, and you have Hayduke Lives. That's the one I haven't read."
Penelope, "That was his last book, I think. We need more like him. Have you talked with anyone in EarthFirst!, Nate?"
Nate, "No compromise in defense of mother earth! No, I haven't yet."
Penelope, "I got to meet Julia Butterfly, the girl who stayed in a tree for a whole year to keep it from being logged. I have her e-mail."
Nate, "What's she doing now?"
Penelope, "She's running supplies for other tree sitters."
Nate starts reading from Hayduke Lives.
Sky comes out of the bathroom. Nate continues reading while Sky and Penelope talk.
Sky, "I have never needed a shower so much."
Penelope, "Would you like a beer."
Sky, "Yes, please."
Sky looks around.
Nate, "O.k. now for my shower."
He goes into the bathroom. Nate exits the bathroom in a towel. He gets his bag from the living room and returns into the bathroom. When he comes out again, Penelope and Sky are seated at the table. Candles burn. He seats himself and is offered a dish.
Nate, "So, you guys went to the same ashram. What did you do there?"
Penelope, "We learned to meditate, we socialized, we practiced devotion to Shiva and Vishnu and later Shakti - and other deities, including each other. We were a community of American Hindus. Do you practice a faith, Nate?"
Nate, "I observe and respect aspects of many religions. I love the imagery of Hindu – the Upanishads are one of my favorite texts."
Penelope, "I have that here, too, of course."
Nate, "I also love the koans of Buddhism – the compassion and wisdom of Buddhism, the prankster delights of Zen. I also try to follow the teachings of Christ. Do I have Christ's faith that God has prepared
good works for me to do in advance? Sometimes I do; but I vacillate on this point."
Penelope and Sky look at each other intently; it may be a knowing exchange, but nothing is said.
Nate, "Hmmm, I always see love in the symmetry of Nature. Our consciousness is spreading through the natural spaces. One day we will merge with the Universe. I love and bow to the divine in human minds.
The word religion is a little pejorative. I have faith in the human spirit, soul and mind, the spirit of discovery, the joy of growing. I love the swelling, aware, reflective buddings and flowerings of genius, especially shared genius. I like the language of Transhumanism. I think we're at a very important time period, ready to become post human."
Penelope, "Oh, Frank Tipler, Omega Point Theory of Physics. Transhumanism is very connected to that. Of course it deals with everything. I've read some and do enjoy the optimism."
Nate, "Right. We have every reason to be optimistic. We nowadays have so many opportunities to lead very rich lives. I would hate to see reactionary dogma crushing new age eclecticism and experimentation
anywhere in the world. It burns me up that here in my own country while Native Americans are permitted to incorporate entheogenic sacraments like peyote into their lives, with positive social results, my white
cousins and I are not."
Penelope, "Do you think most white North American people are ready to listen to Father Peyote?"
Nate, "I think that many are. Many are not. They could be trained and readied for the mystical, sacred psychedelic experience as early as high school. Psychedelics inspire a love for learning in everyone
I've ever met. It's preposterous that courses in psychedelic inquiry aren't widely offered at colleges and universities in America – at least on the graduate level. There could be community psychedelic research centers in every village - Psychedelic Boy Scouts. If a kid was having trouble at home or in school, a guidance counselor could take psilocybin with him. Psilocybin holds soooo much possibility for transforming an individual in positive ways – and the entire species - by virtue of the kinds of information that comes through it. Psilocybin is such a path to gnosis, BUT, since gnosis has been repressed in Western civilization for at least a thousand years… we cool cats get flack. Get sent to prisons! In the name of Krishna, using entheogens respectfully, we may release ourselves into a realm of pure, beatific self-engineering beyond what we are capable of before The Experience. Something about The Experience just naturally tends to bring out the best moral standards. Why is it that so many psychedelicists also are committed environmentalists? Because they are happy, awe-inspired people who care on a very deep level about Life and feel the urge to affect positive change in the world."
Sky, "So true. What a ridiculous government we have. Numerous Nobel prize winners – like Richard Feynman and Kerry Mullis - attest that they use LSD and mushrooms regularly for creative insights. Most of the original inventors of personal computers were greatly inspired by acid! So many writers and musicians, prominent people of business and artists have reaped enormous creative benefits from psychedelics. And yet we're told in schools that it's wrong and we are punished if we follow suit. I've had quite a few professors tell me they enjoyed tripping."
Nate, "I know. I have heard the same. At least the First Amendment upholds our access to the psychedelic culture. This may not be true everywhere. In China they might not even allow such information to be
spread. We do have research centers, of a limited kind. We have head shops, where this culture may be expressed and spread. Psychedelic art, and music. And one may buy books by Dr. Alexander Shulgin, Dr. Timothy Leary, Jonothon Ott, Terrence McKenna and many others with important things to say. And students form their own communities and psychedelic research teams in the dorms. And there are web communities devoted to seriously studying each member's personal psychedelic progress under pseudonyms. And of course there are Furthur Tour, Phish, Rainbow Family of Living Light."
Penelope, "Nate, I agree with you. As a doctor, I agree with you. At the very least people should be able to congregate in places of worship and fathom psychedelic mind expansion. Essentially, the true psychedelics are analogues to our own neurotransmitters. None have been shown to be physiologically harmful. I would gain much more from
going to church on Christmas if most people had eaten a mushroom or two. For the less self-secure people, a priest, or counselor, or shaman could be available. People would gain much insight into what it is to have empathy, to see past boundaries of self and celebrate the amazing human soul. Psychedelics do increase mental power, emotional power, and thereby give us more to love about each other. And I would challenge anyone who claims they are drugs of abuse."
Nate, "Right. Marijuana sometimes gets over used. But, no-one in historical record has ever overdosed on it. Mushrooms! Mushrooms are so calmly profound and reasonable – there is a synergistic voice which develops which guides you in how to use them. I can't imagine any of
the law makers who made them illegal ever tried them. Or if they did their souls were very corrupt and ugly to begin with, and the higher manifestations they perceived were unsettling."
A pause. Nate eats some food.
Nate, "Psychedelics are always just a phase; a recurring one, but one you know how to put aside while you concentrate on other things. You partake a few times per season, you attain enlightenment, but then
the voice of love and wisdom let's you know when to stop. You realize that if you don't, you won't enjoy them anymore. You've had your fun, your mind-body-spirit has learned much and is inspired for months to come. But you know when it's time to put them aside. Through
psychedelics, you come to love and understand your body much better, what you put in it. Your fellow earthlings become your high. The trip isn't about a drug feeling, it's about you and your relationships to
Penelope, "That's why LSD and MDMA and Ibogaine have shown so much promise in treating alcoholics and other drug addicts. The experience raises them out of their somatic conditioning and allows them a fresh start with a high impetus focus on interpersonal relationships. It DOES give people a spiritual awakening, and psychedelics simply aren't drugs of abuse like cocaine or heroin or alcohol. LSD had great clinical results in alcohol and hard drug rehabilitation in the '60s before it was made illegal. Experiments are still going on today with Ibogaine and MDMA, and the results are good. But I fear that the politicians who are just concerned with votes will prey on popular misconceptions and try to thwart these noble efforts. LSD, psilocybin and MDMA are used clinically in Switzerland nowadays. And not just to treat addictions. Even in psychotherapy. You can actually sit down with your psychiatrist and have a session. Now that clears up the cobwebs! I see what you mean, how that sort of thing would be good in colleges, anyways. High School is a little young, perhaps. Certainly for counseling it would
be superior to current practices, in many cases."
They eat some more. Sky has been eating throughout the conversation.
Nate, "Well, that was scrumptious. Thank you Penelope."
Nate, "Let me help you clear."
Nate and Penelope fill Tupperware with left-overs. Nate brings plates and silverware which she loads in the dishwasher.
Sky, "I'm going to bring the mushrooms in. Do you have oven trays to lay them on?"
Penelope, "I'll get those. They won't dry until the morning sun hits them."
The mushrooms are laid on trays. Sky and Penelope go to her bedroom. Soon they are talking and laughing. They put in a movie.
Nate is sprawled on the couch in the living room reading Hayduke Lives.
Nate is further along in the book when Sky calls out from Penelope's bedroom, "Goodnight, my friend, we're turning in."
Penelope, "Goodnight Nate. Hope the couch is o.k."
Nate, "It's fine. Thank you. Good night."
Nate gets a lot further along in the book. Penelope's cat sits on his lap. He finishes a chapter, turns off the light and turns in.
Midday. Sky comes in with trays of dried mushrooms. Nate is on the couch reading "Hayduke Lives". Penelope touches Sky around the waist.
Sky, "These are all ready to pack up."
Nate gets up and helps Sky.
Sky, "My dear," to Penelope, "will you take me to the nearest FedEx office so we can send these North?"
Penelope, "I'd be glad to. You just stay here, Nate, and continue enjoying that book."
Nate, "Mmm, thanks, I will."
Nighttime. Dinner. Dishes.
Nate finishes the book, while at the dining room table. He gets up and stretches. He exclaims "Wow." He climbs Penelope's rock chimney (indoors) with his hands and bare feet. He climbs down. He climbs it
again. He hops down and makes a bit of a thud.
Penelope, "Are you alright? What was that Natty?"
Nate, "Oh, hey, sorry Penelope. I just had to climb your chimney."
Penelope comes out.
Penelope, "Yes, I know, it's tempting."
Nate, "I'm very worked up. I just finished the book. I think after I get home and sell the mushrooms I'm going to head out west and join EarthFirst! That book really galvanized me. The Earth needs to be defended, I want to do something. The money I get will be a nice
cushion or, gulp, legal defense fund in case I get into any troubles protesting or blocking nuclear or logging operations."
Penelope, "Sounds good. I commend you. I hope you do it."
Early morning. Sky and Nate pack up to go pick.
They arrive on the country road Bob took them to.
They go through the woods and pick.
Sky, "Penelope says you're pretty serious about joining ranks with EarthFirst! When do you think you'll go?"
Nate, "Pretty soon after we get back."
Sky, "What about Burning Man?"
Nate, "I'll see how the money is. I need to put my life to good use."
Sky, "The cultural element must not be neglected. I hope you come with me. We should have enough time to make our own costumes. Burning Man! You don't even realize what a circus it is. Beautiful artists
creating new visual languages, everyone is a participant. I came up with this idea to make songs which are games. Add verses in response to what people say in response to previously suggested themes – Dadaist remix. In categories – to classic rock, techno, folk. I also want to have a contest in mass charity."
Nate, "Sounds cool, Sky. I may go with you. But Burning Man! is a huge carnival lasting a mere week or so. I want to get right on to forging intimate relationships with fellow environmentalists in EarthFirst! I want to bond with other happening defenders of the sacred forests and waters."
Sky, "Natty, I love you. You are a beautiful soul. I think, bro, that you should get a Burning Man under your belt for cultural reference and inspiration. Like you said, it is only a week or two."
Nate, "Yeah… We'll see how much money we make back home. I'm sure we'll make a lot. I suppose I will go with you."
Another midday. Out in the field, they run into three other kids who are picking mushrooms.
Kid one, "Hey, these boys have the right idea. How much you got?"
The kid looks at Sky's bag.
Kid one, "Not bad. How long you been out here?"
Sky, "Almost three hours." They talk as if they'd known each other a long time. Each having been to Psychedelic Overmind, in a way they have known each other a long time.
Kid one, "Do you want to eat some lunch? We packed a basket."
Sky, "Hey, that's kind. Thank you."
They sit and eat. The kids eat a few mushrooms.
Still munching on lunch,
Kid two, "So, how much do mushrooms sell for up in New
Sky, "An eighth is $30. We'll sell ounces for $120. Half pounds for $800; pounds for $1200."
Kid three, "Well, you'll be pretty well off. Whatchya gonna do with that? Go on tour?"
Sky, "Well, yes, I want to go to Burning Man in Nevada."
Kid one, "I hear that's intense."
Nate, "I'm going to join up with EarthFirst! in Oregon
and be an eco-warrior."
Kid one, "Defend trees and shut down polluting
Nate, "That's the idea."
Kid two, "You ever done anything like that back east?
Don't we need that here?"
Nate, "I came very close once. I have worked with
environmental groups in the east, to ban pesticides,
enforce recycling laws, and protect trees. In the area
of New York where we're from are the Allegheny
mountains. Grand, magical, sacred spaces. There are
really interesting rock croppings. There are radically
different geologies of hills viewable from one mountain top to the next. The hill you're on could be all 'Canadian' rock from the
last ice age 10,000 years ago. From there you can look at other
hills several thousand times older with very different
rock formations – 'rock city' is one with million year
old rocks. The glaciers just missed certain mountains
last time they came through. An hour to the south of
me is the Allegheny State Park which is New York State's largest.
Then south of that is the PA Alleghany National
Forest – where the National Rainbow Gathering was in
'99 - and then the Appalachians. Dig this: In '95
congressman Gerald Fitzpatrick got approval from the
good ol' NYS Governor, George Pataki and State Parks'
commissioner Bernadette Castro to clear cut log 50% of
the park in 45 acre clear-cuts. They said 'Under
natural circumstances those $3,000 - $10,000 apiece
old growth cherry and walnut trees wouldn't live as long as they
had - fires, avalanches, yaditty would wipe them out...' they
suggested they were doing the forest a service. 'Round
there we don't get many fires or avalanches naturally. Naturally, all the forests would look like the Great Basin in Alleghany which is all
awesome old growth. $3,000,000 of NYS taxpayer dollars were set aside to finance cutting the trees - building the roads, servicing caterpillars, bulldozers. AND all logs and profits, $1,500,000, would go to the logging company which got the contract, which of course was to be be Fitzpatrick-Weller – owned of course by the same Congressman. They were about ready to do this on the sly when we PIRGers and Citizens' Environmental Campaigns and one good ol' assemblyman - Sam Hoyt - got word. We did letter writing and petition drives, got airtime on TV. I mean, those parks belong to the people. They're for our enjoyment and adoration. And they're natural heritage. I have no problem with selective logging, if the money from trees cut in parks goes back to the parks. This sounds incredible, I know. New York was outraged. We did succeed saving the park. But if we'd not have succeeded, I'd've gone with sugar for gas tanks of bulldozers, and monkey wrenches to disable stuff myself. And I wouldn't have been alone. I also would
have spiked every tree with nails to disable chain saws."
Kid one, "Wow, that's terrible. I'm glad you saved the park through peaceful means though. Spikes in trees would disable chainsaws, but it might cut off a logger's arm!"
Nate, "Well yeah, we would have told them where we spiked the trees. We would have cut the heads off the spikes so they couldn't remove them. The company wouldn't put their men in harm's way – they'd lose
everything to lawsuits. I HOPE to practice peaceful resistance with EarthFirst! I don't want to hurt anyone. But I'm not above disabling property when something so heinous is being perpetrated."
Kid one, "Good luck with that. I'm using my mushroom money for college next year. I want to become a scientist and work with endangered animals."
Sky, "Excellent. Where do you plan on going?"
Kid one, "Tufts."
The pickers have finished lunch.
Kid one, "Well, shall we divide and conquer?"
Sky, "You know what, we've picked enough here. You guys take the rest. We'll try another field."
Nate, "Check the old 'Shroom Guide?"
Kid one, "It was nice meeting up with you. Good luck."
Nate and Sky get up and walk.
Sky and Nate pack their bags into the car, get in and drive away.
On a country road we are inside the car,
Sky, "The field is in the next town. I don't want to show up with all these mushrooms on us. What do you say we pull over on the next little side road with woods and hide our bags under some brush."
Nate, "Oh, I don't want to do that. We'll be fine. This is Florida."
Sky, "I don't know, I have a very uneasy feeling."
Sky, "Please. Please pull over, Nate."
They see a side road with trees and pull over. Sky gets out, takes the mushrooms and runs into the woods. He returns. A car pulls by. He pretends to be peeing on some bushes. The car passes and he gets back into the car.
Sky, "Cool. I feel much better now."
They pull up on another rural road and park the car. There is a field. They get out and pick.
They return to their car with meager bagfuls. Dusk is settling.
Sky, "I guess this is enough for one day. Do you want to try that other field mentioned in the guide? We'd have to use flashlights I suppose. It's funny we've always picked by day. I thought we would pick mostly
Nate, "I know, me too. No, we can try it tomorrow. I'd like to get back and write in my journal."
Sky pulls up the side road where the bags of mushrooms are hidden and parks. He gets out and goes into the woods. He is gone several moments. Finally he returns and gets in the car.
Sky, "I couldn't find them at first. But it's all
Spreading mushrooms out on trays at Penelope's. When they are done with this they eat dinner.
Penelope, "I picked up two movies. Now that you're done with the book, will you watch them with us, Nate? One is called Baxter. It's French, and about life from the perspective of a Bull Terrier. It's hilarious. The other is Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I was in the mood for comedy."
Nate, "Sounds good."
The table gets cleared and everything put away. We follow Penelope, who carries a large bowl of popcorn, from the kitchen into the bedroom. Nate and Sky are on the bed. Nate makes to move to a chair.
Penelope: "Don't worry, hon, there's room."
They movie starts. Nate writes in his journal.
Morning in Penelope's home.
Penelope, "I need to get to work. If you go out, lock
up. There's a spare key on the table. I'll be back by
Nate and Sky arise later. Sky makes eggs for breakfast. Nate walks into the bathroom and we hear the shower. He comes out and they eat.
Sky, "Where are we going to send this load? To Brie or
Karen? I sent the last batch to Susie. I didn't even
Nate, "That's o.k. What do you figure we've sent home
already? Ten pounds?"
Sky, "Yeah, about that. I called Susie last night.
They arrived safely."
Outside a FedEx office. Sky gets into the car. Nate is chewing gum.
Nate, "What a beautiful day."
Pulling up a rural road to the other 'Shroom Guide site.
Sky, "Well, this is it."
Nate, "Look at that sign."
Sky, "Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted to the Fullest Extent of the Law. THIS MEANS MUSHROOM PICKERS."
Nate, "I'm not going to argue with that. It's their land. Screw it."
Sky, "Shall we head to the field Bob showed us?"
Nate, "I think we should give it another day to recuperate. I'm in the mood to write. Want to just head back to Penelope's?"
Dusk is seen through the windows of Penelope's dining room. Sky and Nate and Penelope and an older woman – Penelope's mom sit cross legged in Penelope's living room. Nate's eyes are shut. Penelope's mother's are too. Sky's eyes are open. We view this silent seen for thirty seconds.
Nate, "Thank you for showing me how you meditate. That was very clarifying. I felt a new type of thought energy flow through me."
Penelope's mom smiles.
Sky, "I know, isn't her energy wonderful."
Penelope, "It is. Thanks for coming over. Goodnight
The older woman opens the door and leaves.
Nate turns to Penelope and she smiles.
Morning. The outside of Penelope's house. Sky is on the lawn doing Chi Gung maneuvers. Nate walks outside. He watches. He does some simple stretching. Sky looks over at him.
Sky, "Shall we go pick?"
On the road to the farm which Bob showed them, Sky pulls over. Nate jerks his head; an idea has come to him.
Nate, "I had forgotten. The night at that party, a kid gave me an envelope of potent herb. I hadn't thought of it until just now. It's in my knapsack. Would you like to?"
Nate twists up a fat joint. The get out of the car, gear up and start walking. They puff and pass the joint between them.
Sky, "This smells extraordinary. It smells like incense."
Nate, "I noticed that. I wonder what kind of hybrid it is."
Sky, "It's good."
A pause in conversation as they walk.
Sky, "You know, I was so hoping to find a baby alligator to bring back home."
Nate, "Hmmm. That would be fun. I'm sure the zoo would take it when it got too large."
They walk a ways. The expression on Nate's face is a troubled frown. He starts to walk ahead of Sky. Sky periodically squints and looks as if he's hearing something. He too frowns some. After a while Sky stops
and sits. Nate notices and walks back to him.
Nate, "What is it?"
Sky, "I don't know. I just need to sit and clear my head. I'll catch up with you."
Nate, "Alright. I actually feel like being alone, too,
for some reason."
Nate gets to where there are mushrooms. There are not as many as before. There are some very small ones; a few scattered larger ones. Nate picks a few of these.
Further along Nate's walk, cow patties are bare. Nate
shakes his head quickly. He puts down the small number
of mushrooms which he picked and kept in a baseball
Nate, "Forest, I'm not going to pick!" he shouts. He
walks. He looks under a rock. He sits and watches an
armadillo dig into a den. He hugs a grand old Living
Oak tree. We walks and passes a large patch of
Nate, "Do your thing, guys."
He walks more and meets up with Sky. Sky carries no bag of mushrooms. Sky notices the same about Nate and smiles.
Nate, "I decided I couldn't pick."
Sky, "Me too."
Nate, "I started having bleak thoughts. The phrase 'you're no good,' and 'you're not for real' kept repeating in my head. I picked a few mushrooms, but was bothered by how few there were. It was strange
seeing all the dung not getting decomposed by fungus. Usually they're waving everywhere like flags atop piles of poop. It seemed like a part of the ecology was missing."
Sky, "We've been over harvesting."
Nate, "I picked a few at first, but the thoughts got worse. Then I made the decision not to pick any more. I put down what I had and went for a walk. I announced to the forest that I wouldn't pick any more. And
immediately the bad thoughts left me and I was very happy to have a walk in the woods. I enjoyed myself. I found a large patch of mushrooms later, but kept my promise. They need to mature and send their spores
Sky, "That is so strange. It's like the forest was talking to us. The same thing happened to me. I decided not to pick before I noticed there were too few mushrooms. When I made that decision, my bad thoughts ended, too."
Sky looks around.
Sky, "I know what you mean, the bare shit doesn't look right without mushrooms breaking it back down. I'm ready to go anytime you are. But take your time."
Nate, "Thanks. No, I'm ready. Wow, I think we actually received a message from Gaia."
Sky, "That's the most convincing evidence I've ever seen."
They get back to the car where a cop is waiting for
them. They explain that they spotted an albino armadillo and went looking for it. The cop checks them out, looks in the car, sees no mushrooms and lets them go. They get into the car and drive off (their aspect is confident and determined).
Driving in the car,
Nate, "With all the shipping charges and gas expenditures, how much money do we have left?"
Sky, "About $120. We're going to need more to get back home."
Nate, "Let's call Dane. We will have to pay him back,
Sky, "Oh, absolutely. I realized that all along."
Nate pulls into a gas station. He parks, gets out, and goes to a pay phone. He checks his calling card and dials the necessary number. Nate
hears the answering machine.
Nate, "Hey buddy. I think we're about to head home. I
was hoping you could float us another loan. Just a
hundred dollars should do. Well, I'll be staying with
a friend of Sky's here in Tallahassee – 555-555-1942.
I'll try you later."
Nate returns to the car.
Sky, "No answer, huh?"
Nate, "No. I got his machine."
Sky, "Well, I'm ready to head home. I miss the
mountains, too. Georgia has some, at least. We have
more fungus waiting for us at home than we even dared
to hope for. We don't need to pick more."
Nate, "No, we don't. Well, we're going to have to wait
until we get in touch with Dane. It probably won't be
more than one more night."
Sky, "I don't want to wait. I really don't want to
stay another night. And besides, I'll need to spend a
day with my parents, at least. I promised them I
would. So with that and with all we have to do in
Buffalo, we're going to be cutting it very tight to
make it to Burning Man."
Nate, "True. Well, we can't make it to New York on
$120.00. Has Penelope implied she wants us to leave?
Do you have some problem with her?"
Sky, "No, honestly there's nothing wrong. She'd be
happy to have us for as long as we wished. She's cool.
I just have a strong urge to leave right away; within
the next hour; I'd like to trust my instincts on
Nate, "Will Penelope loan us the flow?"
Sky, "I cannot ask her. And I can't permit you to,
either. We can stop in Atlanta. My friend Gwen is
there. I would like to see her very much anyways. She
will certainly loan us some cash."
Nate, "I want to stop and visit Oatmeal. He's in
central Georgia. Town called Midway."
Sky checks the map.
Sky, "That's clear across the state. It's outside of
Savannah . We won't have enough money to get there and
then up to Gwen in Atlanta. After we see Gwen maybe we can go
see Oatmeal. I can't promise we'll get to see him."
Nate, "My bro' Oatmeal has a forty-five acre farm loaded with exotic, living entheogenic plants – Cohoba, Mimosa, Psychotria, Trichocerus, Spilanthes…"
Sky, "We are short yet again on money and on time."
Nate, "We can probably reach Dane fairly soon."
Sky, "Well, I don't know why, but I think we should go to Atlanta right away. Call it a gut feeling, for your benefit as well as mine. Let's flip a coin."
Nate, "O.k. tails."
Sky flips the quarter.
Sky, "Heads. I'm telling you this is for the best. You'll love Gwen. Lets clean the car out totally. I'm talking gay-neat."