I knew it was coming, demarcated by these arbitrary markings of time put forth to us by the universe, the planet spinning round while it circles around a giant orange orb. It was there in the rearview mirror, methodically making it's way towards me and it will do so every year, there is no avoiding it and really why would i want to? The pain and hurt we experience should not be shoved aside, it should be embraced just like it's counterparts joy and love. We learn from all of them. What else can we do? To not learn is the real tragedy, to not understand that the process of birth ends in death and that it is all a part of the same cycle and to fight against it, to worry about it, is to miss the point of the living that happens in the middle. Don't worry about your imminent demise, it'll be here soon enough, but don't ignore it either, get on with it as Pops would say, and live to the best of your ability.
There are always different things that pop into my head about that day. For some reason i kept thinking about waking up in the hotel, about the frigid and icy tundra i walked out into, about picking up Pops at his place and the drive across my sleeping city to the Cleveland Clinic. About how the cold and dark would soon give way to a brilliant and sunny day, the light sparkling off the bits of snow not turned grey by the machines of man. And i remember my father dozing off in the room as he waited to go to surgery. I sat quietly and listened to him breathing, watched him stir and wake, a weak smile while he said, i must have dozed off, to which i replied, go back to sleep, there's not much happening, he chuckled and then shut his eyes. Here was the man who had taken care of me my whole life, watched me grow into "the Perfect Barbarian", as he once dubbed me, and now i was taking care of him. There is a gorgeous symmetry to the universe even with the pain and hurt that is part of it. I was honored that my Dad wanted me to take him on this day. I understand i'm more low-strung than my big Sis and that while she was made executor for her organizational skills, i was the kid to lean on, to talk with about things other than the large dark clouds swirling above us, because no matter what at some point the clouds would lift and we'd be back to the brilliant sun. That's just how it goes.
The imbibing of the mushroom is not usually dwelled upon or thought about too much, it's an organic process of pondering for a few minutes here and there and then taking that plunge when the time comes, as previously stated, after 9pm, so that the bulk of the journey can be spent in a quiet house in a dark room. This time was no different. It was a long day of modern serfing and then i returned home to clean and get dinner ready and then get the I-mac to his futbol practice some 40 minutes away. Returning home i got some things squared away and then made my way to the powder room for three large pinches of magic dust, followed by swigs of water to wash it down. I'm never sure about the amount but my estimate is between 2-3 grams, not the heroic doses of my youth, though i'd like to do that one of these days, but more than enough to open the doors and let the fresh air in. It was after taking them that i realized that it was Longest Day Eve and that this little journey would take me into that day. I smiled at my reflection and said this should be interesting and then wandered back to the couch and waited for my friends to take hold.
What fascinates me about psychedelics is you never know what you are going to get. Where as the last time i fought the dark this time was the polar opposite. This time there was nothing, a beautiful nothingness in the best sense of the word. There is this process that happens to me when the mushrooms start to kick, the muscles twitch and feel wonderful, as if the body is saying thank you and throwing off all the shackles that keep it bound on the "normal" days. There is the deep breathes that resonate from the tip of my toes to the top of my head and then expand to include more than just the physical me. There is wisdom in these little beings if we choose to see it. Laying in the dark my head was clear, just crystal clear blue water, no thoughts, just a peaceful tranquility, the muscles stretching and smiling, the feeling of my lungs expanding and the deliciousness of each breath, it was the brilliance of the stilled mind, when all thoughts melt into nothing and you just are, the ego gone, the body gone, nothing more than the cosmic dust you are vibrating to the song of the eternal universe, where the line between conscious and unconscious blur into one. A glimpse into what awaits and what is always here.
I'm not sure when or how or even if i slept, all i really recall is the beautiful calm. When i opened my eyes in the dark i turned and looked at the clock, wondering how long it had been? What felt like just minutes was actually hours and the clock read 4:12am. That was roughly the time i had risen three years ago to get dressed and drive to pick up Pops. Serendipity. I smiled. I took a deep breath. I was on the other side of it now, coming back down into this terrestrial world of consumerism and politics and the shit show that humanity tends to perpetuate. It didn't matter though. It was okay. I whispered to the universe, i love you Dad, wherever you are, and then closed my eyes for a few more hours. I feigned sleep on m couch until the Breadwinner had left and then rose and poured a cup of coffee. I crept up the steps to look in on the sleeping boyos. The day would be like many others, the same and different. I'd make them breakfast, i'd clean and do laundry, i'd listen to records and then take the I-mac to practice all the while cloaked in this peaceful feeling that indeed everything was gonna be alright. The Longest Day was here again and it was okay. It was still teaching me and honestly what better way to honor Pops than to keep learning and to keep teaching the boyos. Sometimes those waves come and we gently
float right over them, looking down at our toes in the water and amazed at what we can and can't do if we just let ourselves be.
(The Longest Day Redux, posted 2/16/20)