If you want the short story of my experiences at Reggae on the River, 2015, it goes like this: I planned; I attended; I enjoyed. There, all done. However, it is my custom to use my blog to not only recount experiences, but to extract from them some sort of sage assessment.
Each episode will consist of a vignette written to stand by itself, but which will also link with all of the others to attempt to imbue the reader with a basic understanding of what the attraction is to gathering with thousands of others along the Eel River every August, when it is most likely to be hot.
I once went aloft in a glider, being towed up to a height of 10,000 feet by a second plane which actually had an engine, and then released. That eerie feeling of silence, and the knowledge that only the skill of the pilot without any motorized assistance from any source, would get me back to terra firma, was an effective wake-up call. The feeling was one of exhilaration.
I felt a similar feeling when Stephen Marley played “No Cigarette Smoking in My Room.” The lyrics to this song, unlike the two of which I wrote about yesterday, have no particular relevance to me personally, except that it was the first of Stephen’s song that encased the right side of my brain in an iron-tight vice, one that has me in its grip, still.
Stephen sings a duet with Melanie Fiona, one that strikes a strong emotional chord in me. He begins,
“No cigarette smoking in my room, No alcoholic beverages in my room
Wanna give you some good love this afternoon
And I’m gonna get a next portion real soon...
I’m gonna keep you warm is cold outside,
Protect you from the storm is war outside.
You know I love you baby, No need to worry about me.”
“Tell me what am I supposed to do,
Why you got me sitting here waiting on you?
Baby hurry hurry come back and give me some love this afternoon
Cause I can’t wait to see you smile, Could you stay a little while
And do the things that only lovers do?
Try not to think about How I’m gonna do without your touch
Your touch. And I can’t stop thinking about the love I need so much
And until you come back to me, There will be
No cigarette smoking in my room, No alcoholic beverages in my room
Wanna give you some good love this afternoon
And I’m gonna get a next portion real soon...”
Buddha, tears again. Why not? This is what it has been all about. Doesn’t get any better. What’s this? Casey on one side, Lito on the other? Big hugs, cool shit being said, one emotional wave cascading over another, all swirling around in that creamed-cauliflower-brain of mine, which struggles under normal circumstances, let alone these.
We like to say that it takes a village to raise a child; sometimes that same village sticks around to help an old hippie out. Such was the case over the entire weekend, as so many in my community combined to let me know they were all providing a safety net for me, should one be needed.
Not only was the net unnecessary, I changed my mind about leaving Sunday morning, which was the original plan, and decided to stay for Albarosie, who closed out the festival, Sunday night.
The fact that he closed out the whole shebang, should tell you this artist has earned much respect in the industry. Casey had turned me on to Albarosie, minutes after he blasted northwards to begin his college life up at Pacific U, just east of Portland, in 2000.
I was enthralled and absolutely wanted to see him perform; I just did not want to set the bar of my own expectations too high. I figured two days and two nights was enough for starters, and if things went well, I could extend matters.
Big Ross almost back-handed me the other day, when I told him I was going home on Sunday morning. He’s right, of course.
I will only mention Ross briefly, because it would take far more space than I have available, to go into any kind of detail. Classmate of Casey, and partners in various entrepreneurial endeavors, generous to a fault, never visits without wine for Annie, and gifts for all.
Like Mid-Sized David, Ross is from Minnesota, where they grow them big. He is a big man and goes at life full speed ahead, pausing only now and again, to keep from blowing a head gasket. Ross had a motorhome on site and disappeared for 24 hours at one point over the Friday/Saturday period, sleeping off the effects of being funch-paced.
Uppermost, like all of our community, Ross is about the love. Above all the other commodities that were so much in abundance, designed to enhance the festival experience, either physically or mentally, the love that pervaded the venue was epic. I felt as though I were enveloped in a blanket of love and support, that extended to all corners of the site.
Ross had sent me some Steel Pulse early on, and some Gentlemen later and was as much a part of my support system at Reggae as any one of the others. He was so tickled to see me that it reinforced my desire to stay the extra day.
Minnix took a pic of me standing between Casey and Lito, after Stephen was finished singing, in which I was beaming. No surprise there, since I was riding a tsunami of emotion, not to mention the effects of a bowl-for one-of some opium. Opium does not qualify as “other drugs,” as in my regimen of not taking anything I had not experienced before.
No surprises, and all that. Opium isn’t a drug just as cannabis isn’t a drug. They are mood stabilizers and right now, a little stabilization is probably a good idea.
I glanced at my phone just before I shut my eyes and prepared to sleep. It said 3:01 in the A of M. Tony Gullick was rocking some techno beats about three campsites over, and I lay on my air mattress and basked in the glow. I was supremely comfortable both physically and psychologically, and even when the cushion of the beats stopped abruptly, shut down we found out later, I remained nonplussed.
I slept for three-and-a-half hours, waking because I had to see a man about a horse. Urgently.
On my way back, I saw three lads heading my way, laden down with their gear and obviously vacating the building. The third one, a straggly sort of chap, stopped and accosted me.
“Happy Reggae,” I automatically greeted him.
“Happy Reggae! Hey, Dude. Do you do edibles?”
“Only edibles with cannabis,” I joshed him.
I shouldn’t have. It only confused him.
“No, Man, I have this cake, Man, and I’m leaving. You want it? I’m gonna toss it in the trash if no one wants it.”
Do I do edibles? Does Stephen Marley play reggae? Let’s talk turkey.
“Give me a frame of reference..what’s your name? I’m Mark.”
“How potent is the cake?”
When I was going strong on edibles, I would make a batch of gluten-free cookies [in case Casey wanted to indulge] and eat two at a time, using oil I made from crock-potting the flowers of my medicine in canola oil for 24 hours. If anyone not accustomed to edibles wanted to try one of my cookies, I advised him or her to not eat any more than half of one cookie, and then wait at least an hour.
Then if he or she is still functioning, a second helping might be considered.
“Oh, got it. I could eat the whole thing and still function.”
“Great success! And thanks, Brother Man. I will sample your cake immediately.”
I didn’t, of course, not until I returned from breakfast, that is. This second breakfast turned out to be a most intriguing experience, if ever there were one.
Tomorrow: “Breakfast for Three”