walking with mushrooms

It was a risky business, choking down three dried grams on a towering cliff above a rocky beach clattering with the seething ocean in its teeth – especially when I’d been here before, nowhere else to go, sleeping in the mud beneath the gorse, shivering fit to rattle my bones loose of their ligaments, so fucking cold, humiliated and inhuman. I didn’t want this trip to be a Tardis, spinning and squawking and dumping me back here five years previously. I gagged down a mouthful of musty dust chased with a slug of fruit juice. Looked at what was left – maybe a gram – gave chickening out some serious thought, had a word with myself and knocked it back. Sat on a rock in the heatless sunshine and rolled a cigarette. Smoked it and rolled another, ready for the sausage fingers. Twenty minutes in and the colours began to deepen, edges shifting into sharp relief, Rene Magritte clouds stalled in a primary school blue sky. Eyes closed, everything was a shockingly beautiful blood orange red, slowly forming into gold limned hexagons which rippled and wrapped themselves around rotating columns marching into the infinite distance. I could hear all the water in the ocean. I could hear waves rolling in from miles away at the same time as I could hear the tide rushing up the beach below at the same time as I could hear the individual drops of salt water dripping from the rocks into icy puddles and I could perceive all at once the location of all these sounds. I alternated between closing my eyes and marvelling at the languidly evolving geometry inside my mind and taking in the sky and the sea. When nausea rose up I’d get to my feet and walk a little way until it passed, then I’d sit again. It was all so beautiful, but frustratingly the constant inner commentary wouldn’t shut up. I couldn’t just experience it – I had to keep telling myself I was experiencing it, congratulating myself, discussing it with myself in tedious detail. There’s often another voice, though, with mushrooms – a kind of silent, psychic communication – you can ask questions and it’ll give you answers and make suggestions. It suggested ‘next time, take more’. It told me it didn’t matter that I couldn’t feel a connection to humanity any more. I wasn’t lonely, I wasn’t bitter and twisted, I wasn’t plotting some bloody retribution against a world I felt had slighted me in anyway. I just didn’t get a huge amount of enjoyment from people any more – and that was okay, it reassured me. I didn’t need to. I could evolve and grow and still provide some useful contribution from outside the pack. I could walk alone and I could go places and I could bring something back and people could use it or not – my most important relationship, my deepest connection, was with THIS – the sea and the sky and the wind, and there’d always be a place for me in it; all I needed to do was strap on my boots and walk. I began walking back after a couple of hours, past a smiling dog with a green face and some truly fucked up looking goats and sat in the corner for a while with my eyes closed, watching the colours crumble to grey ash and whirl away in diminishing spirals into the deepening darkness.


    1. Haha – thank you; it’s sporadic – and the intensity of the horror’s diminished somewhat with age and general weariness. I hope your own black dog’s manageable 🙂


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