It was a week of shocks and vegan marijuana butter.The human mind is not rational, and we can never know what someone else is thinking. This was the week I found out that a couple who had befriended me many years ago had committed suicide. These were people with ample funds to live a life of pleasure and play. We had great fun together when they came to visit Ojai. Every night they treated me to dinner at any restaurant I liked, or they’d buy the best organic groceries and come into the kitchen of the spacious country house I had at the time, and we’d create a fabulous vegetarian feast. We’d splash Kahlua in our soy milk, drink champagne, and laugh about everything.And there were other shocks as well.
Life is so bewildering.
I’m still thinking about the Ventura County Board of Supervisors meeting I attended last Tuesday, to speak in support of a mandatory spay and neuter ordinance. As I listened to almost three hours of testimony, I saw again how human beings seemingly live in completely different realities. Even though the law provides for exemptions, all the cat and dog breeders argued that this law would be an invasion of privacy, would cost more money, would be ignored by the very people it’s intended to target, would punish responsible people, and would not solve the problem.
I confess that I kept thinking how you can say the same thing about almost every law.
One of the many speakers opposing the ordinance, a retired police officer who had just purchased her first purebred dog and, if I understood her correctly, now wants to learn to be a “responsible breeder,” said that this is one more law that is “impossible to enforce.”
I’ll listen to the videotape of the meeting to be sure my ears heard this right, but the sole supervisor to vote against the ordinance gave the example of how we all know that, when you tell a child not to do something, it doesn’t work. It just makes the child rebel and disobey. . . (Surely I only dreamed that he actually said this. Otherwise, this will have been the first government meeting I’ve ever attended at which both a lawmaker and a law enforcer point out that laws don’t work!)
Every time one more speaker at the podium argued for why “this law won’t work,” I couldn’t resist turning toward my animal-rescuer friends and laughingly whispering, “Then they must also be in favor of legalizing marijuana!”
As I listened to all the testimony, my mind went to the thousands of adoptable cats and dogs killed in animal shelters every day. I didn’t want to start a riot, and I understand the importance of being diplomatic, especially in order to vote in a new law, but when it came my turn to speak at the podium I couldn’t help but point out that there are numerous rescue sites for homeless purebred dogs too. And one of the speakers after me testified that she had pulled 60 boxers, some with papers, from shelters in the last few months alone . . .
The next day, Wednesday, was warm and sunny, and, after spending Tuesday afternoon in that windowless government building, as I sat staring at the computer I suddenly heard that wonderful Elton John song from the “Friends” soundtrack playing in my head: “I meant to do my work today, but a brown bird sang in the apple tree . . . ” I just had to get outside!
While I filled my backpack with water and fruit, I remembered that a few weeks ago a friend had brought me a care package of homemade vegan tomato soup, raw seed crackers, other healthy goodies, and a small glass jar with coconut butter that, she carefully explained, was infused with marijuana. She gave me instructions for adding this herbal elixir to a cup of herb tea.
This friend happens to be a fun, health-conscious, spiritually minded vegan, so I figured this special mixture had to be of the best, highest-grade medicinal quality. BecauseI can’t stand smoking anything, my last experience with marijuana was about 45 years ago when I burned my throat inhaling smoke from a joint. End of story. But on this day that little jar of vegan marijuana butter beckoned me. So, with the dogs jumping up and down and chomping at the bit to get going, I quickly followed my friend’s instructions to the best of my recollection: “Boil some water, make some tea–any kind of herb tea, and add a little honey. Then stir in the coconut butter.”
This vegan marijuana butter looked for all the world like that Indian butter, ghee. Don’t traditional Asian cultures also drink yak butter tea? My friend had cautioned me not to add too much butter:”You’re not used to it. Just try a little bit.” I couldn’t remember the exact amount that she advised, so I floated a tablespoon of this vegan butter concoction into my tea.
I sipped the tea. It tasted perfectly normal.
So off I went into the arms of Mother Nature with my happy menagerie. I remembered that my friend said it would take about 45 minutes to feel anything, so every once in a while I checked the time on my cell phone. When I wander in nature I often experience a palpable shift in consciousness; my brain cells and nervous system quiet down –at least to some extent. So, after about an hour, not knowing what to expect, I couldn’t really tell if the quiet that descended was the tea or just me.
About two hours later, still not really feeling anything unusual, I moseyed on back to the house with the dogs. I think it was shortly thereafter, while I was washing the dishes, that I realized something had “hit.” Usually, after a walk in nature, like after a yoga meditation practice, my mind gradually fires up again and I find myself back in the noisy stream of life. This time, the only way I can describe it is that everything felt more and more quiet and timeless. I’m inclined to say that it felt shamanic. Just for a while, my perception of the woman (me) washing the endless dirty dishes shifted. My kitchen sink is right by a door so I periodically stepped outside. My mind searches for the words to describe how everything looked strangely familiar, yet my consciousness had landed somewhere new.
A few days later, I mentioned to my friend how I’d tried some of the vegan marijuana butter she’d given me.
“Oh,” she said, “How was it?”
“Well, ” I replied, “I couldn’t remember the amount.”
“Just a tiny bit,” she said. “Not more than a teaspoon.”