A few weeks had passed uneventfully. I had gone, full native. I hadn’t worn shoes or shaved since I moved in. My tan was even and dark. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror after week two, I looked halfway to emaciated. Moving crates of fruit and trimming cannabis plants was hard work. I was loving every minute of it.
The feeling of freedom that works on a self-sustaining farm gives you is ineffable. You’re not free, you have a mountain of tasks every day when you wake up. But they don’t seem so bad. You get to be outside. Among nature. What an idyllic life Heather and the few other workers on her farm lived.
There was David, Sarah, Sun, Mohammed, and Gorlock. A motley crew from around the world. I melded into the group immediately. By day two they were calling me Pondy and PL just like my friends back home. Planting and clearing fields. Climbing palm trees to knock coconuts down. Trimming and preparing bud. Pretending to fix a car. Cleaning the property. Organizing shed after shed. The compound ran like a well-oiled but thoroughly stoned machine.
Mohammed was a master grower. He was in charge of all the plants. He claimed to love them all equally but we all knew that the weed was his favorite. I’ve never met anyone in my life that smoked more pot than Mohammed. Blunt after blunt under the Hawaiian sun. He’d always be shooting out irrelevant profundities.
“Fruit falls when it’s ready.”
“Smoking what you sow makes your heart grow”
“The Sun rises when the Moon falls”
Things like that.
Mohammed was the only one to spill additional info on Swami Sami. He was pulling a cannabis bush out of a pot to plant it in the ground. When he pulled the root ball out all of the dirt clung to the bone-white roots. “As above, so below” Mohammed chucked to himself. I turned to him in slight shock. Of course, Mohammed knew the Kybalion. Why was I so surprised?
“You’ve read the Kybalion?” I asked quickly
“As above, so below? You just said that. It’s a Hermetic principle.”
“Look all I know is Sami is always sayin stuff like that when he rolls through.”
“You’ve met Sami?!”
“Do you know where he lives?”
Mohammed just laughed and went back to planting his pot plant. I tried to press him farther but his mind baked by the sun and the weed was on to other things.
David was a retired banker. He made his nut and left the big city for a simpler life. He was in his mid-forties and quiet. He liked to work in the dirt. David never showered. He’d go in the ocean every few days and call himself clean. I never quite broke through to him, in the same way, I did the others. None of us did. He seemed like he was just happier than a clam to be out of the demanding world he had created for himself earlier in life. He was allergic to money and rarely left the compound. Nice guy though. He was always ready to take your burden or finish a chore.
Sarah was breathtakingly beautiful. Dark hair and naturally pale skin that was trying its hardest to resist the Hawaiin sun. She had also gone, full native. She never wore clothes. Literally never. Her full bush and hairy armpits were out for the world to see. She mostly tended to the fruit trees and the vegetable garden. Kneeling over kale plants whispering them stories to try and get them to grow bigger and stronger. Her huge breasts bouncing along with her as she went from tree to tree feeling the fruit to see if they were ready to pick. I was initially repulsed by her unkempt appearance. In my mind, she was spitting in the face of the gift of her natural beauty. Over time I got used to it and was eventually endeared by the fact that she was so thoroughly free. I always avoided going into town with her. The stares from the tourists were just too much for me to handle.
Sun was a tiny Korean woman. Just past the age when Asian women start to shrink. She was barely 5 feet tall. She must have been in her 60s but no one ever really talked about age on Heather’s compound. Time seemed to speed up and stand still. Sun was the chef for all of us. Cooking what we grew and leading the trips to Costco in Kahului. Sun loved to talk about her childhood. She told endless stories of her friends and how they used to roam around the forests looking for edible mushrooms. Then one day they accidentally found and ate what turned out to psilocybe cubensis. She and her friends were never the same. She determined from that day that she would in her words “Break out”. I asked her one day what she meant by that.
“Haven’t I?” is all she responded. I suspected she was from North Korea but I was never quite able to prove it.
Gorlock was one fascinating creature. No one worked harder than Gorlock, in his own way. You could never get him to do anything new. He had his tasks. His domain. And he ruled over it. He served every meal. Cleaned every dish. Gorlock ruled over the kitchen cabinets. Doling out knives and tongs, then carefully washing and rearranging them. We had a fridge outside of the kitchen that the snacks and leftovers were kept in. It was outside of Gorlock’s territory. When he wasn’t in the kitchen he was carefully examining the crates of fruit we had assembled. Gorlock picked out the prettiest, ripest, juiciest pieces of produce from the piles. He’d bring them inside and carefully arrange them into intricate stacks. He was the most evolved chimp I’d ever come across. He knew his world and didn’t stray too far. He had not drank of the tree of knowledge. Sometimes he’d come to get high with us. We’d pass him a joint and he’d hold it between his giant limps and puff away. He’d purr and sigh then lay down and giggle to our conversation or sway to the music.
One night we were all sitting around the fire passing a joint and shooting the breeze. I realized I hadn’t checked what day it was for longer than I could remember. I knew I got to Hawaii on December 13th.
“Hey guys, does anyone know what day it is?”
“March 2nd. I only know because it’s my brother’s birthday.” — replied David.
The weight of the world hit me. I’d been in Hawaii for more than 3 months!