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Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

The first time I did acid was with Winston in Long Beach. He assured me everything would be fine. He’d done it hundreds of times. I trusted him.

After dropping the cute little smiley faced piece of paper on our tongues, we started walking up Pine Street. What better way to experience life than among a crowd of our own kind.

Well, that was my first mistake. LSD is not a casual drug. Derived from the rye fungus Ergot, it was synthesized by Sandoz Labs just after World War II. Its dosage and effects were not initially understood and it was produced at an industrial scale.

Quite unlike THC, alcohol, or most other recreational drugs, acid alters your perception in no subtle way. Like Tyler Durden in Fight Club letting go of the wheel of his Lincoln Town Car while barreling down the road at 60 mph.

Sorting through audial and visual changes, I hid in a bush until my mind settled down. Winston was able to walk me back to the harbor without incident. No. Not without incident. Immersed in a new experience.

We sat on the dock and watched ribbons of colored light dance across the wavelets in the marina. The colors faded into the silver glow of moonlight that shown more across the long swells from the ocean beyond the breakwater.

A marina full of boats was suddenly rising and falling subtly, almost imperceptibly, in unison. That’s when I saw it. The wave. The gigantic, impossibly long wave, only inches tall, lifting the weight of all those boats at once.

An image stretched out across an ocean so huge it could only be seen in the mind’s eye. The swells generated across hundreds of miles of open ocean were expending the last of their incredible energy for my amusement.

This revelation was immediately overcome by another. This wave. The REAL wave, was the one lunar pull that circled the globe. It was the tide. Why could I not see that before? The tide is one long unstoppable wave.

All at once I reveled in my discovery, but cowered at my ignorance. How could a sailor not have known what the tide was. It’s not just a series of numbers in a table of the list of ports around the world. That is but a glimpse at the larger picture. That is the digital clue to the great unalterable analog!

The great unalterable analog is the force that keeps the world moving. It does not await observation before becoming reality. It IS reality. It is God. It is the cosmic dance. It is the bane of every teenage boy who wants a world defined by simple mathematical equations.

Its embrace is the joy we find in surfing, singing, skipping stones across a quiet glacier lake in Yellowstone National Park. It is the force and flow which give consequences to both indecision and overthinking. It is the rail of emotion we fear more than an old wooden roller coaster.

I saw all of that in the little waves sneaking into Rainbow Harbor Marina.

The New Year approaches. It is but a mile marker on our never ending voyage. Time flows endlessly, as far as we know. “Time and tide wait for no man.” Are they the waves that never break? Or have we just not journeyed far enough to reach their shores?

These are the questions I have for this holiday.

Renew your efforts to see beyond your immediate surroundings. Resolve your courage to see where Rimbaud’s Drunken Boat will take you. Report your findings, no matter how mundane or silly they may sound. You will always find an audience of inexperienced travelers listening at the fringe. An audience in need of your wisdom.

Celebrate the season, whether in Christian tradition or its pagan origins of death and rebirth. Celebrate New Year, Solar or Lunar, again of death and rebirth. Celebrate Hannukah, the renewal of your ancestors’ courage to stand up to their oppressors. Celebrate in whatever joyous manner you wish, but celebrate.

My one wish for this New Year is that we don’t live shackled lives, giving ourselves only one day and one chance each year for change. Every morning is a rebirth. Every blink of an eye.

My other wish is for all of you to come to the realization that “Harold and Maude” is the greatest movie ever made. But I’ll give you a year to think about it.



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