ON BEING POISONED
Last Saturday afternoon as I was dealing with being poisoned by the Green-spored Parasol Mushroom there were times when by body was completely out of control. When the diarrhea came I couldn't rise from my bedding on the floor. I soiled everything -- my blankets, my clothing, the floor across the house to the nearest door. It was a mess. When I finally got outside, flies landed on me en masse, big greenish and bluish ones I seldom see, but I didn't have the wherewithal to shoo them off. I just lay in the recently rained-on grass letting it all happen. I could not swat flies, then, but I could think.
One thing I thought was that this was a preview of what's to come if the years keep piling on and the body keeps degenerating, which I suppose will happen.
I also remarked how pretty the sky was, how gaily the Chimney Swifts twittered and flew circles above me, and, with my body flushed with fever, how pleasant the cold, wet grass was.
Also I thought this:
What a marvel that life -- any life -- proceeds at all. When you reflect on everything that can go wrong with a body it's really a miracle that we can even walk around, much less ever have a good day. Here just one mouthful of a pretty, good-tasting mushroom had changed my chemistry for a moment, and everything suddenly had broken down.
I've often mentioned my belief that all of us, including myself, are entranced in various hypnotic states nearly all the time. Some of the trances, such as romantic love, are positive while others, such as the state causing us to do what everyone else is doing without thinking, can be destructive. Another powerful trance is the one that hides from us our absolute vulnerability to a whole universe of agencies, forces and unknowns that in an instant can end life -- as mine would have ended if I'd eaten much more than my single mouthful of Green-spored Parasol Mushroom. I truly believe that if we could clearly see how fragile life is and how many threats surround us, and are ticking away inside us all the time, we'd be paralyzed with fear and dread, and be unable to live meaningful lives.
We need our trances, then, yet our entrancements also anesthetize us, keeping us from noticing or caring that we are destroying the planetary ecosystem that sustains us. Humans have been created in a way that requires us to use our primate minds to overcome our reptilian-minded shortsightedness.
Anyway, what a miracle that today I can type these words after more or less fully recuperating from my Green-spored Parasol Mushroom. It's a perfect summer day with cicadas droning as they should drone on such an August afternoon, with a string quartet on the radio, the wood floor beneath my bare feet cool and good-feeling, and me looking forward to the afternoon biscuit baked over my campfire, slitting the biscuit open while it's still steaming and placing inside it glistening, red slices of homegrown tomato and white slivers of homegrown onion and a green leaf or two of lettuce and a light sprinkling of salt... and just eating that thing!