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That Time I Tripped In The Duke Gardens (Part 2)

rival week




- experimental

That Time I Tripped In The Duke Gardens (Part 2)



Let me preface this Part 2 with a thought that entered my mind when the Shrooms hit:
This article is going to be a lot harder to write than I thought.

Tripping isn’t a two-dimensional, visual experience. It’s more like a 6-dimensional, other-worldly, almost out of body roller coaster ride. The world opens up for you like a storybook.

If you read Part 1 of this journey, you’ll remember when I was bummed because I thought my trip was going to be pretty underwhelming. HA! I’m not jesting when I say that within minutes, reality seemed to be quietly slipping out from under me. After two minutes of breathless laughter, we removed ourselves to a quieter part of the gardens, away from the surrounding families starting to look at us suspiciously.

Eager to explore every sensation in this newfound lush paradise, we continued to explore. My friends admired the turtles and ducks. For a solid two minutes I lovingly stared at a rock covered in blue and pink patterns and shapes. I wanted to articulate a realization that came over me, about our friendship (one tends to have many epiphanies on Shrooms) – but the words wouldn’t come out. Time was slowing down. I was literally starting to trip over my thoughts (ah! Hence the name lol).

“Guys I – I think that – what I’m trying to say is – ah fuck wait sorry – um, hahahha – ok wow I’m tripping, um – can everyone just look at the rock for a second? – you guys are great.”

During our trek, I made everyone pause, and look back at the scum-covered pond behind us because it was the most breathtaking, National Geographic-worthy landscape I had ever seen. Nature, a once inanimate object, came alive before our eyes. Every rock, tree, leaf had energy. It breathed.

I can’t hope to capture every moment and sensation, so an anecdote should give you a proper taste of my time:

In the distance, we saw the red bridge towards the end of the pond. “Guys, we have to go to the red bridge!” my friend exclaimed, as if we were mosquitos attracted to a light. The up-and-down, zig-zag path of the trail that my feet carried me over felt like a self-powered amusement park ride. Meanwhile, if you took a 5 second snapshot of my thoughts, they went something like, “Gosh, my friends are great. I like that tree a lot! Wait, weren’t we supposed to be heading to central to smoke weed? I don’t ever want this to end EVER. Pink and blue everywhere. Candyland. It’s only been an hour?! The bridge, I need the red bridge. Weeeee I’m freakin’ tripping bitches!!!” The red! It was so red. It didn’t just look red. I could feel this object’s energy. It felt red, like how you would think red feels: warm, radiating, fuzzy. When I opened my mouth to breathe, I could taste the redness.

Now picture 50 of these snapshots bursting and fading in our minds a minute. Each one of us experiencing a different one, unique to our own space and perception, then eagerly grasping at each other, out of breath, trying so hard to capture the beauty we saw as words spilled out of our mouths like an overflowing faucet before our schizophrenic minds darted to our next existential breakthrough. Our hair a mess, smiles plastered on our faces, eyes crazed.

Believe it or not, we somehow managed to remember to find our way to central to smoke weed (you know, because we weren't already tripping hard enough). Though not a necessity, weed prolongs a trip, and heightens the intensity. After a few bong rips, we headed back out into the wild.

Trippin' Balls

Every time I thought I was tripping, it was like I powered up to the next level of tripping. The weed did its job. I can’t take credit for this description, because my friend thought of it: we felt like “star-power on Mario Kart.” I wish I could describe this stage of the trip, but I genuinely cannot. It was so intense, I almost don’t remember it. The visuals I described above continued, but my thoughts – my thoughts about thoughts (what is a thought?), became separate entities from my consciousness. I’d look at one of my friends, and we would be talking at the same time, neither of us finishing a sentence, and we would say “OHHHH yeahyeahyeah,” validating each other. Everything felt so important, we had to share everything.

But I also started to feel paranoid. I still don’t know if it was the weed (I don’t smoke often), or a skewed amplification of my personality, but I was in a state of complete euphoria mixed with underlying fear. I wanted to communicate with friends on my phone, but at the same time I was deathly afraid that something I said would change our friendships forever. Would they think I was annoying? Was I Facebook Living this unawarely? When we ran into friends who weren’t tripping, I became incredibly self conscious, asking them if they were mad at me over and over again even though they said I was completely fine. I wanted the four of us to be together, alone - the outsiders needed to leave, lest they further pollute our Nirvana.

This was the only “negative” part of my trip. And this was completely unique to me. At any given moment, the four of us were thinking, feeling, and perceiving four completely separate realities.

As the sunlight was faded, I stared into a lush, green oasis, a humming haziness glazing over the dusk.

Back To Reality

We made it back to the dorm room we started in, the journey completed. The beginning felt like a different lifetime. We sat, listening to music, each smiling quietly as we watched a Youtube video called, “Pretty Lights.” About an hour later, we were regaining our sense of reality and ability to coherently articulate thoughts.
Even as I sit here, writing it now, it feels exactly like you would expect it to: like a dream. I know that if I go back to the red bridge, I won’t feel anything. It will look red. The bamboo forest won’t be illuminated with pink disco lights, the logs in the river won’t look like a swimming sea monster. No one else will know what we’re talking about when we say “the safari woman” or “the projects” or “the pipe of Minerva.” But to us, those people, places, things were real. To us they make perfect sense.
If everything I’ve described has scares the shit of you, of course don’t do them! Not everyone is a sensation seeker. And it is possible to have a bad trip. When you’re tripping, everything, and everyone, has either good or bad vibes. A pretty flower? The best vibes! A parent looking at you with judgy eyes? The WOAT vibes. Luckily, my trippy crew was super supportive, fun, and open to sharing and listening to our thoughts.

If you do trip, you’ll see why my chronicled journey falls so short of the real thing. Be safe. Have an open mind. Do it with friends you trust. Make a plan, which you will attempt and probably fail to follow. Even though I still have a few graduation requirements left (stacks, anyone?), I can genuinely say that this was one I’m glad I got to check off.