Sharing is the most primal form of friendship.

Marijuana is everywhere up here. Literally, you can smell it being grown in every other house’s backyard. Why not? The people living here aren’t making any money on their local businesses…not in these small towns. By law, if you have a medicinal marijuana card you can grown up to 99 plants. Each plant as I have come to learn can produce approximately 2 lbs. of sellable pot. At $2,000-3,000 a pound, there is a reason that the homes here go for as much as those in San Francisco, and amazingly, they haven’t had any of the foreclosures that have plagued the rest of the US.

As I was running, a woman stopped and talked to me. She was very sweet and was tremendously encouraging. She said, “I really support what you are doing, and I think it is just wonderful. I would like to give you some money to help you out.” I told her that I didn’t need any, and the Universe has been taking care of all my needs. “None the less, I want to give you something to help you out. I don’t have any money on me, but take this. You can sell it to anyone and get a good bit of money. Just tell them that it is from Humbolt.” And with that she gave me a 1 gallon freezer bag filled with pot. The pile was the size of a regulation football. I tried to refuse the gift, but she insisted and wouldn’t take no for an answer. I relented.

I was blown away by her kindness to me. In reality, she just gave me approximately $1000. However, I didn’t know what to do with it. I thought about the people that I could give it to. I know people surviving cancer, friends that like to smoke, but in short, I was at a loss. The idea of holding on to it for another 250 miles to San Francisco wasn’t all that entertaining. I certainly wasn’t going to sell it. So for the time being I just put it in my buggy. I had no peace however. I thought…what if I get pulled over by the cops again…if I go to jail for peace—fine, so be it. But, I don’t want to go to jail for this, and ruin my peace message’s potency. In the end, I stuffed the bundle in a stump in the woods…my peace returned.

So many people have offer it to me up here, and I am overwhelmed by their generosity. I offer to them in return some of the apples or grapes I’ve picked. It seems that the way we as humans first establish friendship is by sharing. It is for this act of generosity that I am humbled by the kindness of strangers. If all people could be so kind to share the fruits of their labor as willingly as the kind people in Northern California share their pot…life can and will be better.

 

I have been, for the last week, in the marijuana growing capital of the world. Tom, the man pictured above, has nothing to do with this, other than he lives here, and I met him in the hub of Pot—Garberville. After being dropped here by my friend the CHP officer, I used the time to do some art, makes some friends, and plan my route south. My primary objective was to avoid if at all possible using the 101, and thus avoid other unnecessary entanglements. This would not prove to be easy.

 

At the coffee shop that the officer directed me to, I met Mary and Sarah who worked there. They were kind to me considering that I just got dropped off by a police cruiser in the cannabis capitol. They filled my water bottles and gave me a free scone and tea. It was very sweet of them and to repay their kindness I painted them these flowers.

 

I found a passage through the back country that avoided the 101 and took me through some beautiful terrain. Excellent! I thought, and in addition, it was only 3 miles longer than the 101 route! However, google maps doesn’t let you know the elevation gain and loss totals…which for this route, would have been nice to know. However, I saw pigs, chickens, cattle, horses, and every other farm critter, all relaxing as the smell of skunk bud wafted in the air about us.

 

It was upon the banks of this river that the winding of the road narrowed until I reached a sign, already some 6-7 miles into the trek, that told me that my proposed google route…didn’t exist. The sign read, “Not a through road.” Another read, “Private road, no fishing, hunting, or access. Road under surveillance 24/7.” I double checked my bearings, my map, and all was as purported to be. I then stopped a passing Mercedes SUV, and asked the woman if it was possible to continue on this road? Her words, “I wouldn’t go there with a baby.” After I assuaged her fears, I told her of my pilgrimage, google maps, and my intentions regarding adhering to the edicts of the highway patrol. She said, and I quote, “Look, everyone is harvesting right now and camped out in their fields. Go back to Garberville, take a bus or  your chances with the cops, but it isn’t worth a bullet in the brain to go this way.” And with that, she drove off.

 

I wasn’t frustrated with the woman, nor was I afraid of the “bullet to the brain.” Rather, like Gandhi, the best place for a peace pilgrim is where love is needed most. What I was so frustrated about was the lack of a straight answer about whether the road went through or not! I had already gone 7 miles, the idea of back tracking and wasting half a day was disheartening. However, the idea of going on just to find out that google was wrong and having to back track even more was infuriating. So in the end, for the first time on this trip…I went backwards.

 

Fortunately, I had a nice night camping on the river with a campfire and the sight and sounds of the salmon jumping as they make their way upstream. Watching fall “happen” has never been more exciting. In school you learn about the migration of the salmon and watch videos of bears snatching them out of rivers and such. I’ve seen photos of Native Americans spearing them at the falls on the Columbia before the dams went in. But, to really witness it yourself…magic.

 

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