There’s nothing better than being first. So I was ecstatic on Wednesday Oct. 17 when I became the very first Canadian to get high as smoking marijuana became legal in Canada.
I had planned to be the first and sat patiently Tuesday evening watching the clock. The new law would take effect at midnight.
Others also had plans to be first. Marijuana stores prepared for long line-ups. Thousands were queuing in anticipation of lighting up and being the first to soar. Video cameras were poised to record the magic moments when the very first legal puffs drifted into the night.
None of those news crews would be at my place on the lake to record my historic first. But I didn’t care. I just wanted to be the first.
Midnight in Newfoundland is 10:30 p.m. our time. So at exactly 10:30 I stepped outside and began to make history.
I walked a path through my woods listening to the night sounds. Almost immediately my mind began to expand and my senses sharpened. I was getting high very quickly.
There is no better place to get high than in the woods. City streets won’t do it. Even urban parks are not the same. And obviously never inside the house.
Newly fallen leaves whispered beneath my floating footsteps. An owl hooted to its mate and from across the lake floated the sad and lonely yips of a coyote.
There was a rustle and thump off to my left. Perhaps a raccoon setting off in search of something to burgle with those nimble little fingers. Or a bear knocking over a stump in hopes of finding some morsel of grubs and ants – another paw full of protein before denning up for its winter sleep.
The sounds reminded me that I am just one of many creatures sharing these woods. We all use the forest differently but we all share the same grave responsibility – to respect it and take from it only what we truly need and leave it natural for those who come behind us.
I lurch unsteadily down the dark trail to the lake where a brilliant autumn moon sprinkles diamonds across the gently rippled waters. The first people to this lake knew this moon as Mshkawji Giizis the Freezing Moon which reminds us to prepare ourselves physically and mentally for the lean cold months ahead.
In my elevated state I see more brightly the constellations accompanying the Freezing Moon.
There is Taurus the Bull which some ancients saw as a symbol of sexual love. Also Aquila the Eagle who carries Zeus’ messages down to we pitiful humans on earth.
And of course Aquarius spilling water from his stone jar over a multitude of stars.
Aquarius tells me to dip my finger into the lake. It is cool where less than one month ago it was still warm enough for swimming. The coolness will intensify until the lake stiffens and its newly-hardened surface starts to collect snow.
The coolness the falling leaves and the birds winging south make some people sad even angry. They don’t like change and want everything to remain the same.
Authoritarians like Hitler Stalin and Trump try to block change but ranting against it and building walls and other barriers cannot stop it.
Nature teaches us that we should accept change. Learn to appreciate it. Adapt to it.
Nature’s lesson is that change is renewal. When autumn leaves turn die and fall to the earth their decaying bodies bring the soil nutrients that help foster new growth.
Those enriched soils provide us and other animals the things we need or desire. They even grow plants used to get us high – barley for beer rye and corn for whiskeys grapes for wine and cannabis plants that produce marijuana.
Those are things that temporarily lift us above our problems. They make us feel better for a short time but they are an insignificant part of nature.
Nature which embodies the essential qualities of life on this planet is far more powerful than any individual plant. It can’t be smoked drank or eaten. It can be consumed only by the body’s senses and when absorbed produces the most magnificent of highs.