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An Afternoon in the Garden of Eden
by TreeFox
Citation:   TreeFox. "An Afternoon in the Garden of Eden: An Experience with Mushrooms (exp85667)". Erowid.org. Dec 6, 2013. erowid.org/exp/85667

2.5 g oral Mushrooms (dried)


The day was finally here. I had bought some mushrooms from my friend almost two months before, and had been patiently waiting for the right day. There had been several earlier attempts, but all had been foiled by bad weather or some other unavoidable circumstance. What I realize now is that I wasn't unlucky, I was just forcing things too much. I was trying too hard to frame this trip in the most perfect way possible, when in fact I should have just let it happen when the time was truly right. Today was that time.

I knew all day that this was going to take place, and was waiting for my friend to return to town so that he could accompany me. I was already very content. I had just finished classes for the semester, I only had two finals the following week, the weather today was fantastic, and I've gotten a lot of rest this past week, both mentally and physically. I ate 2.5 grams of dried mushrooms around 4:45 in the afternoon at my house. Two of my roommates were home, and they were watching a TV show in the living room. I just lay on the couch for the next hour or so, watching TV and slowing coming up. At first I just felt heightened bodily awareness, and then more slowly my mind began to start working. Just as I was becoming unsatisfied with my current position my friend showed up.

I was really happy to see him, because to me it signaled the true beginning of the trip. I sat up on the couch, put on my shoes and went outside. Instantly I felt a thousand times better. The weather was perfect and because it was springtime the colors outside were a vibrant shade of everything. I got my backpack, turned off my phone, and we got in the car. We drove a few miles outside of town to a nice wilderness area that is criss-crossed by a ton of small trails. I decided to come to this place because I spent a lot of time here running on the trails and really loved it. It was a small place, about half a square mile, so I wasn't concerned about getting lost. My friend and I began walking down one of the small trails that leaves from the parking lot. Instantly we were enveloped in a lush forest that I had never dreamed of existing there before. Or maybe it had, and I just didn't notice. We walked around for a bit and came to a fork in the trail and stopped for some reason, what exactly I can't remember. We talked for a little while, and it was during this part of the trip that I experienced the most intense visuals.

I was staring at a wall of green, of trees, of vines, of bushes, of flowers, of plants. Suddenly my vision narrowed, picking out a small circle in front of me. My whole field of vision became tiled with copies of this one circle, probably about 20 or 30 in all. It was like a kaleidoscope of leaves and flowers. But as soon as I shifted my vision the tiles disappeared leaving 'reality' behind. But I found that as soon as I stared at one spot for longer than a couple of seconds I would begin to see similar patterns form. For a while I stared at the lush undergrowth, and instead of seeing it as a wall of green I was able to see each individual layer, all stacked up horizontally, to form the structure of the forest. It looked like everything was made of different shades of construction paper. There was a flatness to everything, but in layers, layers that allowed me to see the intricacies of the forest.

Eventually we decided to move along. I wanted to keep walking until I had found a good place to sit down and enjoy the day. At each fork in the trail we took the most overgrown side until at one point we rounded a corner and the sight that befell our eyes stopped us dead in our tracks. There was a small clearing in the trees, absolutely covered in honeysuckle. The trunks, the branches, covered in gorgeous white and yellow flowers. The forest floor was a tangle of luscious green leaves, about a foot thick. I knew that this was where I was to spend the afternoon. After exploring the small area for some time I sat down. My friend sat down a few feet behind me and began to read. I was in complete wonder and awe at this place that we had found, a veritable Garden of Eden. As I stared at the mess of stalks and stems and leaves and flowers between my legs, I began to see deeper into this little ecosystem. I watched the bugs crawling, the stamens of the flowers dancing, the swaying of the unopened blossoms in the wind. I was overcome with wonder and excitement. I was simply amazed by how beautiful everything was. My filters had been lowered and I was relishing in every stimulus that was sent to my brain. I don't know how long I sat in that spot, but in the meantime my friend had moved to a nearby tree to read, and called me over to look at something. Here the honeysuckle covering the floor crept up to that covering the branches. The overall effect was to make me feel like I was in a honeysuckle dome, cut off from the rest of the world. What he had found was that at the edge of the clearing we were able to see into the world below, under the first layer of leaves and into the tangled mess of stems that lay below the surface. I realized that what I was looking at was just a microcosm of the forest that I had been walking in for the last hour; there was a canopy of leaves, but underneath there exists a new level of complexity, a whole other plane of existence.

After having glimpsed into the living, breathing soul of the small clearing I felt that it was only right that I submit to it and become an integral part of its existence. I walked towards the center and found a nice patch to sit down on. I don't know how long I staying in that spot, I'm pretty sure it was about two hours, but it felt like so much longer and so much shorter all at the same time. Over whatever time period that was I slowly pushed my legs into the tangle of vines, enmeshing my body with the body of the forest. I lay back and pushed my arms through the vines, covered my face with the leaves. All of the sudden the clearing and I were one. We experienced the passing of time together. I felt like a toddler again, intrigued by every little thing to such a degree that I didn't know was possible. My brain was like a sponge, taking in everything. I wasn't tuning out the minute details like I normally would. Everything was perceived with equal importance. Nothing was spectacular; everything just mattered, because it existed.

One of the most revealing parts of my trip came as I lay there, enveloped in the tangle of honeysuckle. I had been feeling small insects crawling over my body the entire time, but this one felt different. I turned my attention to my arm, and saw a spider walking across my arm. Ordinarily I hate spiders; for whatever reason I have never liked them and will always do whatever is necessary to get them away from me. But in this moment, I just watched the spider. I couldn't justify disrupting him. I had been doing a lot of thinking, lying there in that clearing, and had come to the realization that right now, this very instant in time and in space, is just the intersection of an infinite number of cycles. This particular moment in my life cycle was met by the spider at this moment in his life cycle, and we were surrounded by thousands of individual living things that were just carrying out their life cycles. And to interrupt even a single one of those cycles, regardless of how physically small the being was, was to disrupt the natural order of things. So I let that spider continue on his way, across my arm, and into the dirt. I don't know where he came from, or where he was going, but it was not my place to alter his path.

I had noticed the subtle changes in light and realized that the sun was going down. It wasn't completely obvious because clouds had blocked out the sun most of the afternoon. It wasn't a dreary overcast; on the contrary, it lent a sameness to everything, a uniformity that I found very satisfying. I began to get cold and put on a sweatshirt. My friend came over and asked me how I was feeling. He really was the perfect person to accompany me on this journey. He seemed to know when to let me be by myself and when I wanted to talk about things, and I was very glad that he had come with me. We talked for awhile about how I was feeling and all of the things that I had been thinking about. I decided that, as much as I wanted to stay in that small clearing for all of eternity, it was time to leave. I walked away from that place knowing that I may never find it again. I am content with that. But that may not stop me from trying.

We walked through the trails until we came to the edge of the lake. We stopped and stared at the water. I tried telling my friend about what I was feeling, thinking, sensing. But it was all so difficult to put into words. After leaving my Garden of Eden I had become a little distraught at the idea of life. Why did I have to leave that place? Why couldn't I just be a tree and stay in one place forever? Instead of passing through life, constantly moving and seeing new things, why couldn't life move by me? Unable to vocalize this, and thinking that it sounded strange anytime I was able to get close, I decided talking wasn't working for me so I went closer to the water, and stood on the bank. What I saw next was one of the most incredible dances of life that I could have ever imagined. A school of minnows, just below the surface, would pop up to the surface at random times to eat the bugs that were zooming across the top of the water. The patterns that the ripples made in the water were truly some of the most beautiful geometric patterns I have ever seen. But the best part was that, every so often, the minnows would move as one and all come to the surface, not at once, but in rapid succession, creating a moving wavefront of ripples that would propagate for more than a foot or two. It is difficult even now to put into words what was happening, but it was a spectacular event that I am grateful for having been able to witness.

As my friend and I continued on, eventually hoping to get back to the parking lot, I realized that one reason I had waited until the afternoon was so that I could see the sunset. But because of all the clouds I wasn't going to see a sunset, and found that I actually preferred it that way. At that moment the sunset symbolized some form of personal gratification, something spectacular, and that wasn't what this afternoon had been about. It had been about realizing that everything, no matter how insignificant, was spectacular in its own way. Some gorgeous sunset would have been an insult to my new-found appreciation for subtleties. As I was trying to explain this to my friend, we were walking through a particularly thick section of forest, and the light was a very subdued blue. As I was looking at his face the dark blue light of the woods turned into a vibrant orange glow as we stepped out into a meadow. We both stopped immediately and turned to the west, and I saw one of the most gorgeous scenes I have ever seen in my entire life. Up in the sky were dark blue clouds covered in explosions of pink-orange light from a hidden sun. Directly below the trees and grass took on a deep green color, which contrasted nicely with the clouds above and the reddish brown trail at our feet. I watched the shifting whorls and wisps of clouds, unable to vocalize my euphoria at this sight. This was so much better than any sunset. I felt like this sight was a secret that the forest held from me, and only after I was able to connect with its inner conscious would it allow me to see the true beauty that it could contain. We stood in that meadow until the lighted clouds passed, giving way to the night sky.

As we continued walking on the paths I felt like I was in a completely new place. Regardless of all the times I spent here I really had no idea where I was, both literally and figuratively. Finally my friend spotted something that looked familiar, and over the course of the next twenty minutes or so we were able to make our way back to the car. Once we started driving home I realized that I really didn't want our conversation to end, so we took a long way home, driving out into the countryside for a bit. I was beginning to come down and was able to express myself a little more easily, and didn't want to stop talking. But eventually we made it back to my house, and luckily it appeared all of my roommates were gone. I didn't think I was in any condition to share with them this incredible experience. After thanking my friend for all that he had done for me, he headed back to his house and I sat down, still thinking about the day and what it meant for me.

Exp Year: 2010ExpID: 85667
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: 21 
Published: Dec 6, 2013Views: 9,991
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Mushrooms (39) : Glowing Experiences (4), Nature / Outdoors (23), Public Space (Museum, Park, etc) (53)

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