37. SEATTLE POP FESTIVAL 1969

I had missed out on the first Sky River Rock Festival on Betty Nelson’s Farm in the town of Sultan near Seattle and the equally memorable “Piano Drop” outside the small town of Duvall. An old grand piano was dropped from a helicopter just to hear what kind of sound it would make. Tales of the events would become larger over time. How it rained three days straight but the bands played on and there were orgies in the mud sort of thing. I would not lose the opportunity to attend the best music festival ever held in the Northwest, The Seattle Pop Festival.

Chuck Berry, Tim Buckley, The Byrds, Chicago Transit Authority, Albert Collins, Bo Diddley, the Doors, Guess Who, It's A Beautiful Day, Led Zeppelin, Charles Lloyd, Santana, Spirit, Ten Years After, Ike & Tina Turner, Vanilla Fudge, and the Youngbloods. A stellar line-up with some of the best bands and eagerly anticipated by everyone I knew. It would be held less than a week after the first lunar landing.

We had a special admittance. Roy knew a guy named Lance who ran a head-shop and would be a vendor at the festival. He said if we agreed to help him operate his booth of candles, incense, pipes and whatnot that he would give us a ticket to share amongst ourselves. Our plan was impeccable. Roy had access to the skiff. We’d been taking it out all summer, using the University of Washington Arboretum as our base. Located on the shores of Lake Washington, there are areas that can’t be monitored by police watercraft and we’d attend keg parties and go skinny-dipping on weekends. To the north of Lake Washington is the Sammamish Slough, a waterway that connects to the smaller Lake Sammamish and goes right by Gold Creek Park, the site of the festival.


“I can get my Dad’s ten-man army tent”, I said to Roy. “Yeah, and I’ll grab some canned food out of our cellar”, suggested Marino. “No reason we can’t just tie up on the bank and set up in a field next to the festival”, reasoned Roy. We gave our folks the ironclad cover story that we were just passing by the site on our way to camping at Lake Sammamish State Park and they didn’t object.

These outdoor music events, and there were several that I would attend over the years around the state, were nearly all plagued by foul weather. It rarely seemed to diminish the positive spirit though and a sense of communal misery would usually displace any feelings of despair. Beating time around burning campfires and wandering through the woods and trying to sneak backstage were all great fun. The Seattle Pop Festival on the other hand, would be blessed with brilliant warm sunshine and the always-positive vibe truly flowered into something very special.

Preceding the original Woodstock by a mere three weeks, it was sure to be a memorable occasion. We packed most of our gear the day before, lugging the heavy tent over to the marina where Roy’s skiff was moored and making sure the tanks were full and the spark plugs clean. There was plenty of room in the covered bow to hold the rest of our equipment and water. At the last minute I grabbed my Frisbee and tucked it into my small pack. I’d become fairly adept at playing with the flying disc; catching it between my legs and flipping it back over my head.

I biked over to the marina in the morning and rendezvoused with Roy and Marino. “You got the ticket?” I asked Roy. “Right here”, he patted his back pocket. Marino put on his sunglasses. “Let’s go!” I lit up a smoke and got into the front seat with Roy. We untied the lines and coiled them away and motored out into the canal that headed toward Lake Union and then the larger Lake Washington. Along the ship canal the speed limit was strictly enforced but once we got past the Arboretum out into the lake we opened her up and roared north toward the mouth of the slough.

The early cloud cover had burned off and it was warming up by the minute. Other boaters and rafters were utilizing the serpentine slough and we were obliged to ease back on the throttle and lazily cruised the waterway. We began to hear the amplified strains of guitars and pounding rhythms. Colorful banners, balloons and festival regalia came into view across a field. Cars, trucks and crowds were accumulating around the festival perimeter and we were anxious to join the celebration but first needed to locate an appropriate place to tie up the skiff and set up our tent.

A large willow tree was draping its branches over the slough and offered shade and protection from prying eyes. I jumped off the bow and Roy threw me the line and I secured it to a sapling nearby. Marino was anxious to get onto the festival grounds. “Let’s set up the tent first”, I said, “Then we won’t have to worry about getting back so soon”.

It took a while but we assembled the unwieldy olive-green tent and got it firmly staked and zippered. It stood eight feet tall with a central pole and gave us plenty of room for our sleeping bags and what little victuals we had. Roy removed the skiff’s sparkplug and stashed it under one corner of the tent. The unmistakable African rhythm sounds of Bo Diddley being introduced from the stage hit the airwaves.

The plan was to identify an innocuous area of the fence and pass our admission ticket to each other after Roy went in first. It seemed reasonable but we hadn’t counted on a thirty-foot moat that circled the outer perimeter. A few other people were attempting to fashion a crude raft but weren’t having much luck. “I can tie the ticket to a rock and throw it over”, offered Roy. Other than walking all the way around to the other side of the site to see if there was a better spot we thought this a reasonable approach.

So he took off running towards the gate and we found a shady area and set down our sack. I took out the Frisbee and tossed it in the air and caught it a few times. It was getting hotter and I stripped off my tee shirt and settled back into the shade for a nap while Marino pitched in to help the would-be rafters.

Roy had been gone almost an hour and we were beginning to think he’d forgotten about us. One person had given up trying to build a raft and walked off but the others kept at it with twine and branches they were scavenging. “There he is!” shouted Marino and pointed to Roy’s silhouette walking towards us.

“Man, you wouldn’t believe how many people I ran into”, said Roy when he finally came up to where we were. “While we’ve been sitting here”, I rejoined dryly. “Here it is”, he said and held up a broken piece of ceramic tile with the ticket tied to it and tossed it across. “This vendor ticket doesn’t get us backstage but Lance’s shop is right back from center stage and already doing good business”. Marino and I flipped a coin to see who would go next. I lost.

“We’ll meet up at the shop later”, said Roy and turned on his heels and headed back towards the bandstand. Marino grabbed the sack and took off promising to come straight back to pass off the ticket. I sat back down in the shade and listened to a jug band of some sort that had taken the stage. Across the way, another rafter had given up, taken off all his clothes and thrown them across the moat and swam across. “He’ll be dry in fifteen minutes”, I thought, looking up into the warm sky.

I considered following his lead but instead offered to help the sole remaining rafter with his project. “I’ve almost got it”, he said, slightly crazy from being in the direct sun for a while”. “I just need a cross beam and it’ll be done”, he said, looking around for another branch. “Here’s one”, I said pulling a heavy stick from some underbrush and tossing it over to him. “Great!” he said and lashed it across his flimsy craft. He set it into the water and held on to the branches of an overhanging tree while he edged towards the opposite bank. I watched bemusedly as he tried to launch himself across by pushing against the branch and squatted down with a pole to keep his momentum going. He laid flat and got wet but managed to reach out and grab some weeds growing on the far bank. “Success!” he declared triumphantly. “Here, I’ll send it back across so you can use it”, he called over to me and then got knee deep and shoved the raft back across the moat.

Marino was expected any moment with our ticket but I figured it’d be a good idea to have a backup plan and reached for the raft that was barely held together and pulled one end up on the bank. Twenty minutes went by and the stage announcer introduced blues great Albert Collins’ set to the roar of the distant crowd. I decided to try crossing the moat on the fragile craft and set it into the water and took off my shoes and strung them over my neck. I stepped out onto it like the first rafter had done. I was making good progress and keeping my balance but the sticks and string holding the raft together were beginning to shift. I pushed off from the branch and lowered my center of gravity and used a gnarly branch as an oar to propel myself forward. On my second stroke the branch broke in two, throwing my balance off and causing my foot to slip through the raft and I tumbled headlong into the water with a cascading crash. Spitting out a mouthful of water, I dog-paddled to the other side with my soaked shoes in one hand and shook myself off like a wet mutt. “That was refreshing”, I kidded myself and peeled off my shirt and rang it out. Thankfully, Marino had the sack with a pair of sandals I could use while my tennis shoes dried out and I started crossing the field towards the source of the music.

“Man, what happened to you?” said Marino after I spotted him coming out to where I was. “Don’t ask”, I said and grabbed the sack from his hand and fished out my sandals. We melted into the growing crowd with guitar riffs emanating from the stage and walked over to where Lance’s head-shop was located on a slight rise in what before was a bucolic meadow. Long poles on each corner of Lance’s booth were festooned with colorful flags and he had already sold out his supply of pinwheels and kaleidoscopes. Roy was perched on a stool behind the counter smoking a cigarette and fiddling with a brass incense burner shaped like a seated Buddha. “Outta sight, huh?” he said seeing us walk up. “Here, find a place for these to dry out” I said, holding up my wet tennis shoes. He didn’t ask what had happened and reached out for them and set them in the sun in a corner of the shop. Lance came up and introduced himself with handshakes to Marino and me. “Thanks for helping out”, he said. “I’m busier than I thought. Here, I’ll explain the set-up”. “Whoa”, I said to myself. “I had gotten in without the use of his ticket and now he wants to put me to work?”

I didn’t say anything out loud and let him describe his operation. “We’ve got plenty of rolling papers and scarves and paper fans but they said I couldn’t sell the candles”, he said, his long blond hair halfway down his back with a straw cowboy hat holding it in place. “If anybody buys ten bucks worth of anything, I give ‘em one of these”, he said, holding up a helium balloon. A very pretty girl in a thin batik bikini came up to the counter and was looking at the silver rings and leather hair ties. “You’d look beautiful in one of those”, whispered Roy. “You mean, even more beautiful”, she corrected him. “Maybe this won’t be so bad after all”, I thought and paid a little more attention to Lance.

Marino said he’d take over the counter first and I’d come back in between sets to see if they needed help. My tee shirt was dried out so I slipped it back on and headed off to see if I could get to the front of the stage. I recognized a few faces and related my fiasco getting across the moat to howls of laughter. One friend, Ivan Koons, was a guy I knew through my brother William. He was dancing with his new girlfriend, Betsy, off to one side of the stage, his enormous afro-styled hair swaying to the Latin rhythm of Santana, who had just taken the stage. Betsy saw me and waved both arms and signaled for me to come over. “You made it”, she said into my ear and held on to me for a few dance steps. “Ivan took some acid an hour ago and is starting to trip”, she continued. “I’ll have to keep an eye on him”. I turned and looked at him. His head was bent back and his eyes closed and seemed lost in his own universe. His feet stayed under him though and he was keeping perfect time to the music.

A cloud of dust was rising from the dancers at the center of the area in front of the stage with several ladies shedding their tops. Another cloud wafted overhead, the unmistakable heavy scent of ganja. It appeared that Ivan was oblivious to his partner so I continued dancing with Betsy while conga drums and piercing guitar riffs moved my feet.

The tempo changed and Ivan settled into a lazy shuffle. “Ivan’s parents are buying some property in Southern Oregon, not far from the coast”, said Betsy. “There’s a big commune of San Francisco refugees and even though the cops are red-neck it’s supposedly a far-out scene. We’re going down in a couple weeks to check it out if you wanna come”. “Thanks for the offer, I’ll give it some thought.” This brought a smile and a kiss on the cheek. Ivan finally opened his eyes. “Hey! Wikstrom! How ya’ doin’?”

I blew them a kiss and wandered into the crowd dancing as I went along. I’d been inhibited at the school dances and had stopped going to the socially awkward events altogether but this was drastically different. No one judging your appearance, no social mores to accommodate and besides, the music was terrific. I’d never felt such a rich communal experience sharing the sky and the joyous feeling was absolutely liberating.

It was still getting hotter and shade was becoming a precious commodity. I remembered the head-shop canopy and made my way back. “Thanks for makin’ it”, said Marino and passed his apron into my hands and was gone in a flash. Business had ebbed and the rest of the afternoon was spent listening, looking and flashing with an extraordinary scene that could never happen again.

Somehow, miraculously, I was able to find my way back to our tent after the closing set by the Byrds. In near pitch darkness, with no flashlight and stumbling over clumps of sod I managed to locate my bed and collapsed with ringing in my ears and a smile on my face.

I peeked my eyes open and saw four figures around me. I figured Roy and Marino to be two of them but the others must be unheralded guests. Sitting up and rubbing my eyes, I shimmied out of my sleeping bag while gentle stirrings from the other covers shifted the floor of the tent. I grabbed the water jug and my shorts and shirt and gingerly stepped out the flap into the early morning sunshine. Splashing water into my face and behind my neck and then a long pull that I swished around my mouth before spitting it out. I squinted into the low slanting sunlight that reflected off the dewed fields around us. The flap of the tent fluttered and an encased form backed out. The rumpled blankets dropped to the ground and a silhouette of a beautiful girl with long flowing blond hair outlined the morning glare. I stood momentarily fixated and unsure if maybe I was still dreaming. “Good morning”, said the girl. I put my hands up to divert the sun’s rays. “Good morning”, I answered. “Care for some water?” “First, I gotta pee”, she said, looking around for an appropriate bush and then grabbing a sheet, she walked off behind where we were standing.

Another shape emerged, a tall guy who stretched his arms and immediately faced the sun in salutation. I didn’t know if he was praying or something so I let him be and walked over to check on the skiff. The lines hadn’t been disturbed and everything seemed in order. I reached under the dashboard and fished out a pack of smokes I knew to be there and lit one up. “Got another one of those, sailor?” said a pleasant voice on the bank above me. “I’m Madison”, she said coming down the path and stepping aboard. I held her hand as she got in and sat in the seat in front. Her long blond hair hung down into her eyes and I immediately noticed that they were unusually bright pale blue. She placed a cigarette in her full lips and arched one dark eyebrow. I fumbled with the matches but got one lit and cupped it in my hands so she could light her smoke.

She reached past me and pulled the water jug into her lap. She was still wearing the sheet that I recognized to be mine and it clung to her like a cocoon. “What a night! Huh?”, she said after taking a swallow and stretching out in the seat. “I’m not sure I remember half of it”, I recalled, trying to think how many encores were played before calling it a night.

“Sure was nice of you to share your tent with us”, said Madison, pushing hair out of her tanned and freckled face. I rightly assumed the other fellow was her partner and asked his name. “Wisconsin”, she teased. “No, really his name’s Chad. We were married last night.” “Oh, yeah?” I said, raising both of my eyebrows. “Sure. Didn’t you see the Universal Life tent at the back of the festival?” she asked, holding up her left hand that sported a soda-pop can ring on her finger. I’d heard of the Universal Life Church. It was understood to have been formed in an effort to circumvent draft requirements and most anyone could be ordained a minister but I doubted their rituals were legally binding.

“Is that my bride I hear?” called a voice on the bank. “Good morning, my husband!” smiled Madison and rose and bowed deeply towards him. Coming up to the skiff, he took her proffered hand and she stepped out of the boat and into his arms. I hadn’t introduced myself but did so now. “Chad. Great to meet you”, he said, pulling Madison’s hair from her face and tying it with a leather thong from his belt. She cradled her back against him. “Thanks for letting us crash with you”, he continued and eyed my water jug. “Sure beat sleeping in the back of my bug.” I reached the water jug up to him and he dribbled some into his hands, wiped his face and flicked some drops into Madison’s face. She winced, and then smiled broadly. “The honeymoon begins!” he declared and swept her back up the grassy bank towards the tent.

“Hi Roy!” shouted Chad and waved towards the tent where Roy was rubbing his eyes and putting on his long pants. “Oh, hi”, said Roy. “Who are you?” “Chad, Chad. You remember? And Madison?” “Oh yeah, I remember”, recalled Roy, looking her up and down. “Good morning!” said Madison cheerfully and kissed Roy on the cheek. “Man, it got a little tight in there last night”, said Marino, pulling the flap open and stumbling outside. He had a can of succotash in his hand. “Breakfast anyone?” We scrounged around in our packs and came up with crackers, pickles and some tomato sauce.

We shared what we had and sat in a circle just outside the tent. The public address system could be heard across the field announcing the day’s music lineup and we discussed the bands and relived the previous day. “Who’s got the ticket?” I said, looking at Roy and Marino. “Ticket?” We don’t need no stinking ticket,” said Chad.  I looked over at Madison who smiled coyly as Chad continued. “I parked my Volkswagen bug up next to the fence so no one could see and removed a couple boards and slipped right in”. Chad shoveled a mouthful of crackers into his face that he had dipped into the tomato sauce and passed them to Madison.

I was willing to try Chad’s scheme and went inside the tent and started rolling my sleeping bag away and re-stuffing my pack. Madison came in and started unwrapping the sheet from her body and stood naked before me. “Thanks for the covers” she said and held the sheet out to me in complete innocence. “My pleasure”, I said. And I meant it. She turned, picked up her long flowered dress and let it slide over her head and down her body. “Are we ready?” said Chad’s voice on the other side. “All set!” said Madison and picked up her macramé bag and put on a floppy straw hat. Marino held up the ticket. “I’m going in and work the first shift,” he said. “Before it gets too hot.” I threw him the empty water jug. “See if you can get this filled.”

“Hurry back!” yelled Roy to Marino as we headed off to the far side of the festival grounds. The ill-defined parking lots were campgrounds with all manner and color of tarps, tents and lean-tos. Crazily-painted vans, flags and sheets punctuated the grounds and I heard the playing of a flute and guitar somewhere. We weaved in and out of the encampments and down a newly blazed trail towards the festival barricades. “How did you get your car down here?” I asked when he pointed out his VW with a blue plastic tarp stretched out the back and attached to the fence. Chad put his finger to his lips and Madison flashed me a wink and took my hand. We stumbled down what I took to be a ditch as quietly as we could and Chad pulled out his car keys and we scrambled inside. “This was a piece of cake yesterday” he whispered and explained how the other door opened behind some vendor’s booths and one by one we’d slip through and blend in with the crowd. The music was in full swing and everyone was distracted, even the security people. “Madison, you go first”, said Chad. “Then you”, pointing at me. “I’ll lock up and meet you inside”. He opened the door gingerly and slid two boards away from the fence that before had looked completely solid.

Madison rummaged in her bag. “Here”, she said and opened a small metal pillbox. “This will make for an experience you’ll never forget”. She placed a tiny orange pill in my palm. “Orange Barrels”, said Chad. “Don’t worry, they’re clean”. I hesitated and tried to refuse it. Madison picked it from my hand and made to insert it into my mouth. Reflexively, I opened my mouth and she popped it in and it immediately dissolved. “Just stay mellow and everything’ll be groovy”, said Chad. Madison peeked both ways through the fence and then whispered “Coast is clear”. She reached over and caught my face in her hands and gave me a full-on kiss, then turned and slipped through the boards and along a line of bushes and disappeared. “That’s some wife you’ve got there”, I said as I crouched by the door and looked out. “She’s the best one yet”, replied Chad and I wondered how many pseudo-wives he might have had. There was a slight commotion nearby and we waited patiently for it to die down. Right as a song ended and the crowd rose in applause I sidled through the boards, stayed low until I got well clear of the opening and nonchalantly assumed a regular posture and eased out from behind a row of sani-cans opposite some food trucks along a service road.

In my concentration to sneak in I had momentarily forgotten that I had just taken some acid and now was racked with concern. “How strong is it? How long will it last, Am I going to lose my mind?” I thought I’d better let my mates know before the effects came on and since I couldn’t see Madison or Chad amongst the crowd, I walked over towards the shop and was greeted by Lance and his girlfriend Lois. “Oh, yeah?” said Lance after I told him, and then turning to Lois, “Show him where our tent is set up so he can feel safe if his trip gets too heavy”.  “Right”, said Lois, “C’mon, this way”. “Thanks”, I said over my shoulder as Lois led the way. Her long dress had paisley designs that shimmered in the sun and seemed to be brighter than ordinary. Her long black hair sparkled at the ends and caught the breeze and appeared to float over her bare shoulders.

The Ike & Tina Turner Revue was introduced from the stage and the crowd began surging forward as Tina strutted onstage in an open crocheted miniskirt. I could feel the pounding beat inside my body and out to my fingertips. Lois reassured me with gentleness as we approached the vendor’s campground. “Here’s our tent”, she said softly. It was large and had an old-style camouflage pattern to the material. They had decorated it with colored streamers and Tibetan prayer flags and it wouldn’t have looked out of place on the slopes of Mount Everest.

She unzipped the tent’s flap and held it open for me to enter. It was pitch black at first and I thought I’d been struck blind but gradually things appeared to materialize: a couple cots with dark covers and pillows, a tabletop set across coolers and a large suitcase with padlocks off to one side. I felt less anxious right away and lay down on a cot. “There’s some fruit and water in the coolers but you’re probably not going to be very hungry. How are you feeling now?” Her question sounded as if it came from a deep well and had a slight echo to it. “I’m okay”, I said and didn’t recognize my own voice. I looked at the inner walls of the tent and they seemed to move in unison to my breathing. “Stay here as long as you want”, said Lois with a reassuring smile. “If you need anything or just want to talk, you know where we are. Are you sure you’re okay?” I thought I detected a halo around her face. “Yeah, I’m all right, I’ll just relax here for a while” I said as she adjusted a pillow under my head and placed a calming hand on my shoulder and then eased out of the tent.

I closed my eyes and took a couple deep breaths. The drug was definitely taking effect and the growing intensity of its properties was apparent even with my eyes closed. Endless patterns of light wheeled across my field of vision and shifted from soft and blurry to crystal clear. A mere hint of a suggestion and an image immediately projected itself behind my eyelids. I let the visions come and slowly felt accustomed to the apparent strangeness. The angles of the tent’s inner walls became more oblique and I knew only by reasoning that the ground under the cot was solid and unyielding. I looked across to the far side of the tent and spied a brilliant red light reflecting a shaft of sunlight that had found a crack in the seam from above the door flap. I rose from the cot and felt like I traveled a mile to get to the other side and picked up the most perfectly-shaped and exquisitely-colored apple that I had ever witnessed. I sat in the middle of the floor and felt a special pride to commune with this now sacred object. As it revealed its inner being to me I recognized the sacrilege of biting into it and felt unworthy to behold such a priceless object.

Perhaps an hour went by. Maybe a hundred years. I knew that an enormous celebration was occurring all around me and like a magnet I was being drawn out and into it. I lifted the flap of the tent and was instantly overwhelmed by colors, shapes, sounds and impressions. The sun wheeled in the sky and white, fluffy chariots soared overhead. The sound waves from the music onstage animated the trees and instinctively I knew that everyone at the festival was aware of my psychic state. I received knowing smiles from people looking my way and felt as if I were intimately related to them. “Hey Wikstrom!” sounded a familiar voice. My head pivoted on its own and Roy’s features came into view. “Hey man, I heard you were on a trip”, he said suspiciously and waited for my response. I didn’t give him one. I just inspected his face for a moment and it morphed into something Picasso might’ve painted. His nose had drooped down to where his chin was and the ears shifted towards his eyebrows. “Man you are high!” He gave out a huge laugh that trembled his whole body. He took my elbow and turned towards where the shop was located. It seemed a long way off and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to walk that far. A rock on the ground had caught my attention and I thought I’d study it for a while.

Surprisingly, all of a sudden I felt an overpowering sense of love and gave Roy a bear hug. “I love you, man”, I said with genuine sincerity.  “Uh, yeah, Uh, I love you too” said Roy, looking around to see who might be watching. “Madison’s over there. She was asking about you”, he said and examined my eyes. “Wow, your pupils are huge!”

I walked beside him robotically and wasn’t aware that my legs were moving. The outline of Lance’s shop grew and came into sharper focus and I recognized Madison’s long blond hair and her sinuous outline. She was sitting on a stool and watching the stage but as we got closer I telepathically signaled to her and she instantly turned her head. “Oh my god!” she shouted and jumped over the counter and came up to us and embraced me. “I was beginning to worry”, she said softly into my neck. “Lance told me where the tent was but when I came, you were gone”. “Did you see the apple?” I asked. She eased her embrace and replied, “I’m sorry I made you take the acid, I never should’ve done that.” I waved to Lance and Lois who were looking over towards us. I noticed afterimages of my hand waving in space and waved them both together and a strobe-like effect flickered the appearance of my arms. “Would you like to dance?” said Madison, catching one hand and twirling herself under it. “Where’s Chad?” said Roy looking on. “Oh, he said he was going to try to get backstage and meet some of the bands”, said Madison and twirled under my other arm and around my back.

Roy started walking back towards the shop and Madison held on to my waist. I wasn’t sure if I was dancing or not but felt the music moving through me and lifting my spirit. “I had no idea that everything was so beautiful”’ I blurted out in a slur. “Including you”, I thought I heard her say. She linked her arm in mine and we glided across the field together. She seemed completely at ease with not a care in the world. I felt elation and wonder and gently pressed against her as we made our way through the festival grounds.

Somehow, we had made a circuitous route towards a stand of trees and Madison steered us towards Lance’s tent that to my eyes floated like a pavilion in an Arabian dream. We entered the cool confines and I immediately lowered myself onto some maroon velvet pillows, let my limbs go slack and closed my eyes. Gentle rivers of subdued light streamed by my inner vista and a mild buzzing played about my ears. Through a mental mist I heard my name called and forced open an eyelid. Madison stood naked before me holding the dress she had just removed. I slowly shifted into sitting upright without taking my eyes off her and smiled broadly. “I feel I owe you this”, she said and dropped her dress and came into my arms.

Somewhere in eternal space stars were crashing into each other and comets were sailing in and out of solar systems. A miniscule pinhead might be the size of a freight-train or an ocean-liner might fit in the palm of one’s hand. Degrees of mindfulness and relative awareness will conflict with absolute reality every time. Desire and shame might be flexible terms that some people use to maintain control over themselves and others. Whatever the issue, nature will take its proper course in due time.

Someone said once, “If you can remember the sixties, you weren’t really there”. I suppose there must be some truth to this adage. Although fleeting impressions of bands that performed the next day remain, how we returned home, what became of Madison, Chad, Lance and Lois are vague and I sometimes wonder if it was all an illusion. I know I felt inducted into another echelon of cultural cognizance and the experience would propel me to seek out deeper encounters with music, art, substances and relationships.