June, 1997

I first met him in Lincoln City, Oregon. I was 18 and it was the night after I’d graduated high school. A group of us had rented a house in the small coast town. I don’t know when he arrived or how long he’d been there before I noticed him. He appeared at some point, though, sitting at the square blonde wood table against the wall. A small island in the sprawling open space between kitchen and living room that contained our party.

His hair nearly as long as mine, inky brown, slight build like a cat, vibe like a shaman, like he could leap to the top of the refrigerator with effortless grace. He offered me some small brownish-black mushrooms that I think now were a seamless extension of his energy- laidback, cool. Excitability was not invited to his party this night. I hesitated at first, but ended up eating maybe 4 or 5 because I planned on leaving early the next morning to get back for a graduation party with my family. Their appearance- the smallness- didn’t accurately reflect their potency.

2 o’clock 3 o’clock 4 o’clock 5. At some point, the group of us that were still awake went out for a walk on the beach. We walked and played for hours along a calm lake surface of sand as far as one could gaze. The sea of water close by. The sand that morning glittered like tiny diamonds under our toes. Small prisms of bright morning sunlight refracting off the silica in the sand. We couldn’t believe our eyes. I’d have thought it was only the mushrooms if I hadn’t seen it two other times both while stone-cold sober.

Once while walking home through Drake Park in Bend with dry, dusty snow in 20 degrees Fahrenheit at most. The snow crystals caught the LED light from our headlamps and sparkled as they fell. The second only a few years ago, also in Lincoln City by myself on a March afternoon while offering milk and honey to sea. An effort to contribute nourishment to an ocean from which I have received so much and given so little in return.

But this, this was the first time…A feeling of walking on light…Tiny rainbows, billions surrounding us at every turn. The sun new. The world ahead of us, Possibility open and inviting.





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