The first morning after coming off the hill, we were gathered around what would be the fire pit, drinking coffee. Off in the distance, we saw another figure walking along the dirt path. It was the fellow who had been in the first spot, before me, on the hill.
As he got closer to us, he apologized and said he couldn’t take it anymore. I gathered that meant the quiet of everything but one’s own internal dialogue. But I found it odd, as this guy had the ability to share epic stories from history. To me, that meant he spent a lot of time in his own head listening to his thoughts.
“Those must have been some intense thoughts,” I said internally.
Both he and the fellow who had returned the day before had gotten through most of their Peyote tea jars, while mine essentially came back completely full.
He was given hugs and tea, and was calming into the routine of being off the hill.
A little while later, when the Sun was more settled into the sky, I got up the courage to go take a shower. I had to have one of the staff walk with me to the shower tent and show me how to use the electric pump. I spent more of the few minutes I was in there focused on cleaning out from under my nails. Dirt and mud were caked far underneath them. And I knew that within hours after cleaning them, they’d be dirty again. I didn’t bother washing my hair because it would take more time and water than I should use to get them clean. I just focused on cleaning my body as much as possible.
In the afternoon, Malcolm and Loretta returned from their trip into civilization for a few days. They left the day before to take care of some business, and pulled up to find three questers off the hill.
After I got back from the hill, Gentle Eagle had told me that he had said to the others that morning that he knew I was going to be coming off the hill early. He couldn’t explain at the time why I was going to come down, but that was his vision.
When Malcolm saw me and my two quest-enders, he said, “Yep, I saw the three of you come down in my space.”
(His vision space.)
Only in his space, he had me coming down second. Not first.
As usual, there were no judgements from Malcolm or Loretta.
Besides, Malcolm needed our help.
He wanted to start cooking the Peyote for the ceremony we would be having in a few days. He wanted to cook it similar to how we cook the ayahuasca in the jungle. A long, slow cook. Which produces a condensed version of the medicine, meaning we wouldn’t have to drink as much to work with the plant.
But he needed some snail shells for the brew.
“We’re going to put snail shells in the Peyote, so can you guys go collect some from around here?”
Um. Malcolm must not have ever heard me recite my fear of snails. It is actually greater than snakes. I think.
“Fuck. That. Noise.” I said.
People laughed. But the purpose of the snail shells was to grind them down and use their minerals in the brew.
He made it clear he just needed shells from dead snails. I agreed to hunt for them, but made it clear Tyler would be picking them up for me.
We quickly found way more than we needed and brought them back to Malcolm.
He and Gentle Eagle would start brewing later that day, after a pot big enough to cook the medicine could be found.
We settled back in for lazy hours while we waited for others on the hill to finish their time.