We were getting out of the city for the weekend. No work, just fun. A group of friends escaping together. We were in a gas station getting gas in Bill and Lilly’s VW van. Bill had a new eight-track cassette player under the dashboard. He loved new gadgets like that. New cassette too. “Abby Road” – The Beatles. “Here Comes the Sun” was playing. It had just come out. I had never heard it before. It was dawn. The sun was coming. We had gotten an early start.
We headed north on the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu and on. We were going to be camping at Montana de Oro State Park near San Luis de Obispo. I didn’t realize at the time, just how far out we were going.
Brian and Ken, whom I didn’t know well, worked in the same design studio as Bill. Brian and Ken were gay and amature animated filmakers. Bill had just finished designing the label for a new product called “Kama Sutra Oil”. Pat and Cyretta were a mixed race couple and close friends. He and I were graphic artists at the same advertising agency. I was more or less his apprentice. We were working on an advertising campaign for the new king of the Tonga Islands. The kingdom had recently come into some money by increasing copra production four-fold with a new machine that husked coconuts and left the meat intact and he wanted to develope tourism there. He came to visit us. The mayor was at the airport with all the TV people and the key to the city. He wasn’t on the plane. He showed up three days later at our door. He was a happy and rotund guy. I liked him. “What’s three days?” he asked. He wanted to go to Whiskey A-Go-Go.
I lived in Pat and Cyretta’s two car garage close to the intersection of Slausen and Crenshaw in L.A. I had recently left home, kicked out, actually, for smoking pot in my bedroom. Even then, it was a rough neighborhood…. shooting going on every night. The riots were still recent events. Their kids were staying with the neighbors, so we were free for two days. I was the only one of our group who had never dropped acid before.
We drove throuh Santa Barbara and up the coast in the coolness of the early morning. It was a fatastically beautiful day. Birds were singing. Wildflowers were blooming. It was unbelievably sweet compared to the grime of the city.
We paid the fee for the campsite and set up the tents. We had brought some snacks and a gallon of wine. We weren’t going to need much to eat today. We wouldn’t be hungry.
I had heard about acid, of course. Everybody knew about Timothy O’ Leary and the new hippy movement. I had read a little book, “The Doors Of Perception” by Aldeous Huxley as well. It didn’t prepare me for what I was about to experience. I had no point of reference. This was not grass.
It was called “Orange Sunshine”. Brian and Ken had it. Two bucks a tab.
At first I thought nothing was happening. Just wait, they said, It takes a little time. We headed down a trail to a little cove that was pretty secluded. Gradually I lost my sense of direction and abit scared. “Just go with the flow. Let it take you. Don’t worry. You’ll be fine. You’ll see.
You’ll see. You’ll see.
The sun. Here comes the sun.
They told me to sit in this special place in the rocks. “Just sit there,” they said.
So I sat there. I was always a good little boy. I looked around at the ocean and the waves and the sea birds over head and it was so incredibly beautiful. SO beautiful, and I was so happy, I wanted to cry! “Shhhhh!”, they told me, “Just wait!” And then it happened……….
It was like the world’s loudest fart. There was this enormous blast of air from under my butt. My hair shot straight up. They had sat me on a blow hole. They were all rolling around on the sand laughing their heads off. Funniest thing they had ever seen. “Wow man! Was that cool or what?” I was laughing with them.
The universe had openned up to us. It was if the clouds had parted and a sunbeam had reached down and carried us up, up, up, and we kissed the light. LIGHT! Everywhere. We spent the day exploring. Every turn offered some new miracle. We meditated and gave thanks. We looked into the centers of wildflowers and traveled there to became one with them, and then bloomed ourselves. Every time an insect landed on an arm or a leg, it was if we had been given a special gift. We closed our eyes and saw dancing, swirling, pulsing colors on the insides of our eyelids. Everything, the entire universe had been transformed into waves of energy traveling through us, in us around us. “What a rush!”, we all said those days. We had escaped into reality. We had changed forever, we thought.
But sometime around dusk, we started to come down. We smoked some pot and shared the wine to ease the transition back to ordinary life. We were so happy. We had shared something so special, so real, that no one would believe it. It was love, of course. The hippies weren’t a drug cult. What we wanted, what we experienced those days was love. And we had changed forever. We may have forgotten at times, but it’s still there, just waiting for the time for us to get back to it. That’s all we wanted, you know….love! We took LSD many times after that, but it was never the same. That was because it wasn’t the drug that blew our minds, it was love, and that was something we still had alot to learn about. There was a lot of trial and error that happened after that, alot of mistakes. Some of us gave up on it. Some of us are still looking. It’s right here.
Inside each of us. It always has been. We can escape into reality, you and I. It doesn’t matter that we have aged. The universe is young. The universe is just beginning to open. You don’t need a drug to find it. It is you.
The hippies are still coming.
…….To be continued.