HOLIDAYS COLLIDE. HAPPY 4:20
So, I'm back. I won't bore you with the details of my unexpected hiatus, life happens, and it's a good day to feel good.
I like that it's 4:20, Easter and Passover all at once. Everyone has a reason to celebrate.
If you're not familiar with 4:20 check:
4/20 an underground marijuana holiday: 4/20/03
4/20 an underground marijuana holiday
By KRISTEN RASMUSSEN, Standard-Times correspondent
The bouncer smiled knowingly as Joe and Pete walked past the stool he occupied just a few feet from the front door of the bar.
"You going out for a joint?" the bouncer asked. Joe and Pete nodded.
The two men, who asked that their real names not be used, smoke marijuana regularly, they said. Forty-year-old Joe has been doing so for more than 15 years.
But today -- the 20th day of the fourth month -- is a special day.
Internationally, it's become known as the "universal smoke day," and even the occasional weed smoker will light up to commemorate its underground culture.
The origin of the "holiday" is the subject of various myths.
PS: I opened my Community Chalkboard today and as my holiday gift offer Part II of Kiss the Sky for your 4:20 pleasure.
KNOCKING ON HEAVEN’S DOOR
12 April 2003 – 9:55 pm. The night flight at April’s party. April is an artist with a kick ass apartment and her guest list is always eclectic.
I meet some of the departing early crowd on the landing where the nude painting of our hostess, one of three by famous local artists, hangs. They eye the balloon but ask no questions, so I don’t explain and keep climbing. I survey the remaining guests from the top of the stairs and immediately scratch the flight time. This place won’t be ripe for another 3 hours. I tie my balloon to a chair and join the throng around the bar. There’s a refrigerated drawer big enough to hold a bin of open ice and 5 bags in abeyance.
It’s an interesting crowd, the food is ridiculously good (it’s a seafood theme) and I invented a most amusing billiard game with Hayes, but ultimately I’m drawn to the two Waynes. They both look to be old guard Happy Valley, obviously the best of friends and are so opposite. One was kind of inscrutable. He could have been anything from a street person to an eccentric millionaire. The other looked like a lawyer that didn’t need the money and stopped practicing law. I joined them.
Mysterious Wayne had commanded the chair where the floating globe strained at its confines. We briefly exchanged the customary small talk when suddenly he looked me straight in the eye and summed up my current life situation in four sentences. I was dumbfounded.
“How did you know that?” I sputtered. He held my gaze in an iron grip; he said nothing and the answer broke over me without words, like a flood of light. I flashed back to other parties where I had done the same thing to strangers and I suddenly understood why those people looked so scared. It was disconcerting to have someone tell you things about yourself that they shouldn’t know. The difference is that with me it happened as a result of circumstance and my frame of mind. It was kind of involuntary. It felt like he was actually reading me at will. I had met a real empath.
He continues to detail my present dilemmas. He tells me things I can't admit to myself but know to be true. I lose track of time. I’m fascinated; transfixed really, so much so that I don’t even notice the crowd has not only changed but also doubled. Someone taps me on the shoulder to hand me a joint. I finally break his gaze and look around. Flight time. This crowd, I need to get up on the roof before they get too trashed and fall off. I reluctantly make my excuses and finally remember to check the access.
There’s a set of stairs and a funky ladder at opposite angles between the main living area and the billiard room. The stairs are solid and end at a door. The ladder is built of two trees with graduated slats in between so that it rises to a point at the top of the skylight. I ask April which one goes to roof, hoping I’m wrong. I’m not.
I climb the ladder, it feels sturdier than it looks but by the time I get to the top I can only rest my arms over the edge of the steel framing of the skylight and only have room for one foot on the ladder. I’m certain I could haul myself up there. I can see the stars and the moon swelling its belly towards full and I can imagine the launch. I hang there for a long minute.
I take one step down and look around. The room is dead silent. Everyone is looking up at me. It’s a really tall ceiling, I think maybe close to 30 feet. Most of them knew about the launch and were sizing up the ladder. There was a lot of doubt in those faces. I could see visions of broken bodies lying in shards of wooden splinters in their eyes. No way were they going to make that climb. The roof was out. I fight the urge to jump up for a moment, just to feel the wind, and descend to announce my verdict to palpable relief. The frozen silence melts into party noise again. I start working on plan B and jump back into the mix.
I have the seeds and the tissue in my pocket. I was thinking people would sign their initials on the paper before we sent it. I write 'seeds of peace' in the middle and make the elvish rune for G underneath to stand for grace and garden and good luck. I give it to Joe first. He drove up to the Eagles earlier that day, just as the first balloon went off. He was sorry he missed it. I thought he would just initial it and pass it on but instead he wrote a heartfelt message to marijuana consumers everywhere that took up the whole paper. I attach it to the balloon as is. This time it looks like an angel holding the world on her shoulders, but it is a burden of hope and it seems to rest lightly.
The party rocked on and I really tried to get the room involved in the launch. I talk it up through endless rounds of crustaceans, it would have made a fine ceremony to have everyone stand in the middle of Main Street and watch it go. There was certainly no traffic at that hour and we had a very fancy camera. The original plan was to photograph the event and post it on indymedia, but the temperament of the room changes with the color of the drugs. This party was going to last far longer than I would.
I had lost my window of opportunity and I find myself at the door with the Waynes. We make our way down the stairs with my rescued balloon in tow. I ask them to help me and we stop in the center of the street. I never did figure who the other Wayne really was, we had barely exchanged four sentences all night. Mysterious Wayne stands facing me, holding the balloon close between us and the other Wayne stands to my side, at least four feet away, gingerly holding the end of the ribbon.
I say, “This is all I ask, please wish that marijuana prohibition ends in my lifetime.”
Wayne looks up at the balloon and closes his eyes. I look at Wayne and we all wish together. Truthfully I’m not sure the other one really wished, but I can practically see the energy pouring out of Wayne into the balloon. He opens his eyes and I hand him the scissors, with a blessing like that - this is his flight. The three of us watch the balloon take off straight towards the moon. Maybe it was the blessing, or the light, or maybe it was the marijuana, but I swear - the balloon glowed - it sparkled like a star and the paper angel had spread her wings and they were rimmed with fire. We stood in silence for what felt like a long time before the light winked out in the celestial ink. I cut the ribbon in half and gave it to Wayne. He said he would put it around his Buddha.
I declined a ride but accepted Wayne’s card and tucked it into my pocket without looking at it. I checked my watch as I made my way down the street - 3:33am. Hard to say if I had launched in solidarity with Vienna, nonetheless I felt satisfied with the effort. This moment had been powerful and properly reverent, all it had lacked really was a hymn. Something flashed for an instant in the sky. I like to think it was the balloon. I hummed John Lennon’s song, Imagine, the rest of the way home.
…above us only sky.
Imagine all the people,
Living life in peace…