Actually Alison

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Sunday, January 24, 2021

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Actually Alison

Part 1 (continued)

We sat on a dock and ate the unappetizing dry fungal matter with soft cheese and then went and heated soup over a campfire, and by the time we were done eating I started to feel woozy and had to go and lie down. As I lay there on the blow up mattress in the tent, listening to Hannelore walking around putting things away and whatnot, I started to laugh. This wasn't a casual chuckle. It started from my groin and rippled up through my whole body. I was laughing at nothing. At life. At awareness. Hannelore laughed at me laughing, and I laughed at that. I laughed at the fact I was laughing. You get the idea.

I started to get imagery. The way it happens in movies is kind of different. It's not like what you are already seeing changes into a spray of colors to the sound of Beatles music. It's more like your internal imagery becomes more and more active and vivid until it is impossible to ignore. If I opened my eyes, I saw a tent. If I closed them, or sometimes simultaneously to what I could still see, there were these other things, imagined images that faded in and out of awareness with a strong emotional charge to them, like waking dreams. The images were of death. A character from the suit cards, the Jack or the King perhaps, held a dagger, the diamonds behind him a curtain of blood. A scorpion, perhaps Scorpio himself, made of light in the sky, his stinger emitting a cloud of green glowing death.

There was real fear in this imagery, but what was strange is that the laughter continued. And it wasn't a terrified laughter or something twisted like that. It was real and genuine hilarity. Laughing at death. At mortality. Throughout my childhood a shadowed man had haunted my dreams, and now I was laughing at that primal fear. I asked myself why that was so funny. I thought that the scorpion stings us the moment we are born, dooming our years to a certain number, like the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden story. But then I thought that perhaps the idea of starting with immortality as a given was all wrong, that it was rather that life itself was gratuitous, that we had no reason to expect there to be anything but a black void and yet here we were. I was laughing because the scorpion only doomed us to death because he stung us into life. I was laughing because life was only special because it was limited, and because it didn't have to exist. Because any existence at all was a gift beyond comprehension, and to squander that gift by thinking of its inevitable end was completely ludicrous to the point of hilarity. I got the joke, and it was me.

There were other things that happened in there. Finally Hannelore started to feel the effects as well and came to the tent, music playing, having a groovy time. At one point she persuaded me to briefly lay on the dock with her under an explosion of stars that made my head swim with so much beauty that I couldn't keep my eyes open. But as I lay in the tent once more, coming down from the intensity of the primary trip, something much bigger and quieter settled into my mind. I realized that there was a door I had been pretending didn't exist in the house in my head. I had been pretending it didn't exist because I was afraid if I noticed it I would have to open it, and afraid that if I did that then I would have to tell the person I loved who was lying next to me what I saw, and I might lose her forever.