Stanley hands me the soggy paper bag full of mushrooms.
‘How many are you gonna take?’
I don’t want to get wasted. I’d rather a mellow trip; a full bodied appreciation of existence, as opposed to the sensation that there are UFOs landing in my mind.
‘About half a dozen I guess’.
Stan grins and swallows his first. We take turns nibbling them. It proves challenging to keep them down, but the nausea passes after about half an hour.
I survey the corner of nature we have nested in for the night. The mountain air is growing cold. The sun fades behind the tree lined ridge, which borders the creek next to us. We have a short time to collect firewood before we experience what is commonly referred to in the literature of psychedelics as the disintegration of the ego. We are at a crucial stage of caring for the fire. Once darkness descends and we lose the ability to connect thoughts with actions and construct narrative, relighting the fire will a mission far beyond us. We hurriedly strike out into the bush.
Unlike alcohol, mushrooms don’t bestow one with recklessness or foundationless bravado. Stumbling through the bush, up a steep hill, in the inky blackness of a wintery night is frightening when you’re straight. Mushrooms cause one to break out into fits of uncontrollable laughter at the slightest provocation. The difficult task of hauling a fallen gum tree back to camp is made nearly impossible by the seeming hilarity of…everything.
The bush around us, already idealic, has turned into a wonderful flowing fairytale forest. The tops of the trees frame a rich picture of the cosmos overhead. Back at camp, Neil Young grooves steadily with Crazy Horse on the car stereo. My friend and I dance along and play air guitar to those mind blowing jams from the sixties – written when a generation believed in the potential for significant and positive change.
A different kind of masculinity inhabits this scene. Scrofulous long-hairs, we seek the truth of being by ingesting naturally grown animal-plants, that in times long past were worshipped as divine. We play guitars and sing, and talk long into the night of moral dilemmas and times past. With every passing minute, our appreciation for the natural sphere, and our satisfaction at being a part of it, grows. We gaze in wonderment at the crackling fire, perceiving a microcosmic blueprint of the stars above. We are full of indignation at the absurdity of the illegality of a substance that reveals the genuine beauty of the world, and one’s connectedness to it.
We’re Mavericks, and we don’t play by the rules. We are driven to experiment by the uncomfortable acceptance that materially, we are obliged to be part of a system that is destroying the earth. In a world partitioned by artificial, abstract boundaries; in which natural resources are pillaged; in which mystery and romance have been destroyed by the aimless blade of science; in which nature is on the run; in which life is wasted on the unfulfilling pursuit of possessions; in which there is an apparent need for a body to eat, drink, sleep, smoke, fuck, fight, build and work; and in which freedom is defined through what we consume, Stanley and I are pursuing ultimate liberation: freedom from oneself.