heres another lesson i learned in college

we were in the dorms. but that night we drove up into the santa barbara mountains and dropped acid.

i have had a blessed life and yes i am grateful.

even though i barely knew these people, for some reason we all trusted each other magically.

decades later we are still extremely close.

in the morning we ate more. it was liquid lsd someone had used an eyedropper to poison graham crackers left over from the smores we never made the night before.

we took an early morning hike.

none of this made sense to me: sleeping in the dirt, hiking around for no reason, doing hallucinogens.

at that point in my life i was extremely literal and a bit of an analysis, and i would typically overthink before trying new things.

these hippies yanked me out of that comfort zone quickly and i could just sense that they knew what they were doing.

in reality they were 17 and 18 and none of us truly knew what we were doing, but it felt different then.

as we hiked someone said watch out for the poison oak.

i grew up in the suburbs in illinois. cul de sacs. courtyards. houses that all looked the same.

wtf did poison oak look like? of note: this was pure lsd. untainted. from the lsd plant or factory or rain cloud, who knows, but it was neither “speedy” nor something else, they said, but extremely visual.

despite being just 830am, the colors were vivid green in those hills. and omg the tye died shirts they were wearing were a show all unto itself.

i could barely walk from the panic of stepping into this poison oak.

soon everything looked like it.

is that it? is that it? i asked.

yes. they said. yes.

then why are you going through it?

LOL we’re kidding. keep up.

can you guys do me a favor and dont kid for a few minutes, im nervous.

at some point one of the hippy girls said hold my hand, i’m not trippin as hard as you are. i’ll show you the way.

but even holding hands felt weird and i let go.

then she said something i have taken with me forever.

look around, tony. look up at the sky. look at those trees. look at cindy and rob and chris and joe. listen to them laugh. listen to the birds. can you hear the tall grass in the wind?

then she said, if you want to spend all day today

looking for poison

go ahead

but theres way more

not poison out here

focus on what you want.

and to this day i still dont know what poison oak or poison ivy looks like

but i have seen some beautiful


unreal things since.