Sunday, June 9, 2013

Plant Life (Part 2)

(I am not George Lucas. I do not begin my stories halfway through. Go back and read Part 1 so you have a better idea what the hell is going on!)

Today, I am going to tell you the story of the time I turned into a plant.

I know that sounds far-fetched, but bear with me. The real story is both more outlandish and less outlandish than I’m making it out to be, and not in the ways you’d think.

It happened in the same place where I’d lost my friends. It was in Meyer Park, deep in the heart of the woods, but it was twenty-four hours later by the time I went back.

I had Harry in tow to act as a spotter. I hoped he’d turn out to be a better spotter than I’d been. After all, I’d lost the people I was spotting, and for a spotter, that’s what’s known as a worst case scenario. 

The time I turned into a plant, I sat on the ground, right where my friends had been sitting. I had a flashlight, a lighter, and a knife, some rolling papers and just a bit of this infamous Vine with No Name, crushed-up and stirred-in with tobacco.

Just a bit and not too much. At least that’s the way Harry and I figured it.

The time I turned into a plant, I folded up my legs in what we used to call “Indian style,”  but that probably isn’t a PC term and I don’t suppose you can call it that anymore. I don’t have any other word for what I did with my legs, though, so you should go ahead and forget I mentioned them.

I lit up, and the cherry of my cigar crackled and it glowed and the smoke felt just like mud running down into my lungs. I really thought I was drowning right then and there, but soon enough I exhaled and I was reasonably sure I was still among the living.

It was sort of tough to tell.

When the smoke hit my lungs, then things  pretty much started changing straightaway, and that’s when I turned into a plant. First, the world got brighter somehow and I saw things I should not have been able to see that time of night.  The thing was, the seeing was monochromatic and it was dull and I just didn’t care to see it, so even though the pond wa-a-a-a-y over there was visible, I was a plant now and a plant has better feels to feel.

I had feels to feel like that heat, for instance. That warmth. It was a different feel than that heat and that warmth you feel when you are a human. This heat had color. This heat had shape and it had direction and on top of that, it had all sorts of information I couldn’t make much sense of, having only so recently become a plant.

And I had feels to feel like moisture. I stretched out my branches and I shook my roots and I reached out the very far-ar-ar-arthest I could reach and I knew everything there was to know about the moisture in the park.

I felt thirsty!

I reached out to touch some moisture, just to get the tiniest of sips to tide me over, you know?  That’s when I heard a voice or a thought or maybe an informative movement that communicated, quite clearly, “What are you doing here?”

It was a tree that said it. It was a tree, and it was an old tree, and I was just a little speck of underbrush, and the old tree was not happy I was there. Not happy one bit.

Maybe big old trees can’t be happy. Or maybe this was just an unusually grumpy old tree.

I was new at this. I didn’t know.

I told the big old grumpy tree I was looking for my friends. I told him about Eggplant and Rufus, and I told him about Star, Ethel Bunny, and the Glob. Last seen right here on this very spot, in fact.

I tried to describe them, too… You know, Rufus had that mole on his chin and Ethel Bunny had that laugh. You really could not miss them. But I’d just started talking and had not gotten very far before the big old grumpy tree stopped me and said, “You have no friends here!”

I felt mildly insulted at this and I told the tree as much. If I wanted to be insulted, why, I’d have remained a human. Why take drugs at all if I am going to keep feeling bad about myself?

The big old grumpy tree took a drink. It sucked all of the moisture from the area and much from me as well. My roots felt a little flaky.

The big old grumpy tree said to me, “Take a drink of sap from this vine over here. It will turn you back into a human being.”

The big old grumpy tree reached out a root-tip and seized a vine. I took a sip. It tasted like grape juice.

As my branches began re-metacarpal-ing, I heard the big old grumpy tree’s parting shot: “If you ever return here, I will kill you, you bug-eyed freak!”

I tried to think of a snappy comeback, but it was too late. I was human again. I uncurled my legs and I stood up, walked over, and kicked the biggest tree I could find. I stared up the trunk and I held up a menacing fist.

From behind me, Harry said, “Are you okay?”

I said, “Yeah, I’m fine.”

I said, “Let’s get out of here.”

I said, “Plants are fuckin jerks!”

To be continued…


  1. Dude*, I HAVE to get my hands on some of this no name vine product. With your tale of jerky trees, I'm beginning to think all of nature is very angry at humanity. Not without provocation, mind you.

    *Don't take offense, I call everyone dude.

    1. At the end of Part 2, my friends are still gone - GONE! - and all you're worried about s furthering your enviro-wacko agenda!

      You're already like half pickle! How much greener do you need to be?

  2. I have to admit, the unnamed vine product does sound pretty interesting. I mean, we're supposed to care about your friends, but so far they've been acting more like trees than trees have. And I kinda wanna talk to a tree now, like when I was 6 and thought that waving branches was more than just the wind. For some reason I thought it was a means of vegetable communication. Let's do that again.

    1. Kids tend to have a better grasp on the things the rest of us ignore, so you were probably right back when you were 6.

      I've only met one tree. I shouldn't blame all of them for one crotchety old tree's rudeness.

    2. Well, you have to consider... the old tree probably had tree arthritis or termites or something that made it grumpy. The old tree probably didn't mean anything personal by what he said. He was probably letting off some steam over how much his limbs hurt when the wind blows.

    3. Good points. He might also get a little nervous when he spots a human - or something that is supposed to be human. Meyer Park had a lot more trees when I was a kid. Any person who wanders through could be the one who's going to take him out!

  3. There is a young magnolia tree, about 2 inch diameter, shooting straight up right next to a hundred-year-old soaring pine in my back yard. They are about six inches apart. When I first saw this I immediately realized that in about 50 years, this old pine will die out and get pushed down by this magnolia, which is going to be one or two feet in diameter, just like the fully grown 3-feet-diameter magnolia in my yard.

    You gave up too easily. In the plant world, time is counted in years and centuries, isn't it? Have you ever seen the ancient redwoods in the Big Sur national park north of San Francisco? I think those trees have stopped talking to each other long, long ago. They also have to be completely stoned in order to put up with the same neighbors for a couple of thousand years.

    1. I did give up pretty easily, didn't I?

      Maybe next time I become a plant, I'll stick it out for longer.

      Mankind didn't go all the way to Mars the first it left Earth's atmosphere.

  4. here is a story that will help you understand the unusually grumpy old tree.

    this is no shit, Bi Pole ( was the runt of the litter and got the heart worms not once but twice.

    Due to the pity factor, Bi Pole was my favorite puppy. Therefore, I journey to the creek behind the house to pray to the sprite tree for divine intervention. You see, an old tree may contain powerful indigenous spirits. Large trees with multi-coloured silk tied around signify that heavenly beings reside there.

    I approached the biggest tree with plenty colorful clothes. The old wisen tree told me not to pray for a lowly puppy dog. His power to to great to grant such a request.

    Then... low and behold! I heard "pst pst sailor Dude!" This is not a sound that is foreign to me... The sound was coming from an old knotty tree that had killed all the undergrowth. Old Knotty explained "lowy puppy dogs supply me with life given nutrients. However, I am thirsty for that green beer known has Heineken. Let's share that rack of greenies and I will bestow goodness upon the puppy"

    Bi Pole is the the alpha dog even though two of the other dogs are much bigger and stronger.

    By The Way - "Bipole" in Thai means banyan tree

    1. Clearly, I should have brought the tree a beer.

      My only excuse is that I didn't expect to actually be talking to a tree.

      Next time I will know!

  5. I bet if my plants could talk they would tell me things like, "You have no friends," too. Then I'd probably say something like, "But I thought we were friends?" and they'd say, "You cut out all of my vegetables, you asshole. You ever think maybe *I* wanted to eat that tomato?" And then I'd wonder if my plants were all cannibals.

    Also, the PC term for Indian style is now "butterfly style." But I'm a stubborn old man who's a product of his upbringing, so I'm going to stick with Indian style.

    1. I would not be insulted by the term "Indian style" if I were a Native American.

      In fact, I'd love it if people used my name in various cultural references.

      "I'm sitting Katy style."

      "You Katy-giver!"

      And of course, there could be the sports franchise, "The Washington Incredibly Pale-Skins."

      I'm all for it. Insult me!

    2. I'm told by a professional 1st grader, Maggie, that the style of sitting is in fact "criss-cross-applesauce". It's a technical term I hear, but one I think the layman can agree on as well.

    3. Bellatrix, that's just too great a term to pass up. Fantastic!

      Criss-cross applesauce it is. And I'll be damned if I'm not going to find a way to work that term into a future blog post!

  6. First of all, this definitely sounds like some DMT related shit that you are messing with. Or possibly Salvia. Either way, and at the risk of getting all fuddy-duddy: Be Careful. Mmmkay?

    Second of all, this reminds me of a semi-famous story from the early adventures of Michael Harner back when he was doing anthropological field work. He had a drug-induced encounter with "giant reptilian creatures" who had fled to Earth to escape their enemies in other parts of the galaxy. Once on earth, these creatures had decided they wanted some company, so they created all life as we know it, and, therefore, claimed to be "masters" of all life forms, including humans. When Harner explained this to a powerful Shaman of his acquaintance, the Shaman just shrugged and said, "oh, they're always saying that."

    So maybe the Big Old Grumpy Tree is all talk. Then again, maybe not. It could be dangerous finding out! But I guess we'll all know soon enough when you post Part Three!

    1. This is a one-time thing. I have too many kids and too many responsibilities to be playing around with my head using legally-questionable means. Which doesn't mean I won't play around with my head in other ways.

      Daniel Pinchbeck, who is a sort of 2012 enthusiast (I suppose he might have to change his area of expertise post-12/21/12), says he was once threatened by psychedelic mushrooms. I read that a few years ago, and the idea might have carried over into my own trip. I don't know how these things work...

    2. Mushrooms never threatened anyone. They are the nicest and friendliest of them all. Well, you know, except for when they aren't, I suppose.

    3. They might get moody if you approach them with the wrong frame of mind.

      Years ago, I went to a marijuana legalization festival in which a disproportionate number of the bands seemed really angry and borderline violent. Never could understand that, but maybe somebody pissed off some plants...

  7. Your friends are missing and you have managed to piss off at least part of creation. But on the upside Harry is back. For you this sounds like a normal week.

    That was pretty rude of the tree to call you names given the number of trees you have hugged over the years. I have no idea what you would give a tree as a peace offering. Cut flowers would be a bad idea. Maybe some sun and extra carbon dioxide to photosynthesize?

    1. Harry is sort of a Cosmo Kramer or Fonzi. I have a vague sense that he could probably pull off his own show.

      I'm worried that the fame would change him.

      I'd hate for him to be anything less than the role model that we've all come to know and love...

  8. Great story, cant wait for part 3! Well, I can wait I suppose...obviously I have to!

    1. Nope. You stopped by at the right time.

      Part 3 is up!

      You lucky dog, you!


Hey you! Why not leave a comment to tell me what you think of what I wrote?