Pancake took a hit from the water pipe and passed it to me. I puffed a little, took the smoke into my lungs and felt it travel instantly through my body. I was in dreamland. At ease and relaxed, I went on manicuring ounce by ounce, until I’d manicured about $3,000 worth of marijuana. It was just all in a day’s work.
At the end of the day, I was covered with marijuana leaves and marijuana resin. My clothes and my skin smelled of marijuana perfume. Marijuana was in my hair. It stuck to
every part of me-arms, legs and face—and that’s the way I wanted it to be. I would go down the mountain with the marijuana in my pores, in my blood and in my head.
I got in my car, Pancake unlocked the gate, and I drove away slowly; I didn’t want to leave. At the first bend in the road, I heard the crack of a rifle, and I stopped for a moment and looked at the horizon. Then I started down the mountain again, going slowly. I was not in any hurry to get back to civilization. I didn’t hear another shot, so I decided it was a kind of salute, a friendly farewell, a goodbye-come-again.
Driving down the mountain, I thought about Nomo and the battle to legalize pot. It was clear that the Feds would not budge anytime soon; that was their message everywhere in Marijuanaland. They were still busting “dirty hippies,” not unlike the original hippies of the 1960s. And they were busting Indians just because they were Indians and poor. They busted women and men, Mexicans and Anglos, chopped up the pot they confiscated and, as part of their ritual, buried it in secret places in the ground as though it were evil—a legacy of the Puritans, who demonized wild things, and a legacy, too, of the descendants of the Puritans, who went raving mad about reefer, grass, marijuana, pot, cannabis, dope, hemp and whatever else one called it.
The outlaw life would go on, and outlaws would continue to grow it in the mountains and valleys—grow it from seeds and clones, in sun and in shade, loving it as though it were their own flesh and blood, this outlaw plant that had survived for thousands of years despite the burnings and executions of the Sufis, that had traveled to Europe by boat from China and India, had sailed across the oceans as sailors and pirates got high, had finally reached England, this holiest of herbs, and endured yet more persecution and demonization, yet never lost its identity as the eternal sacrament and medicine, and that spread from continent to continent and to every mountain top in America; and it had reached California, where it became the king of crops—behind the Green Curtain, in the Emerald Triangle where Flora grew it, and where I lived among the growers of Mendocino after my father died, and where I inherited his marijuana that sent me on a journey I am just now beginning to see as it stretches behind me, circles around me, leads me ahead, takes me forward and into the future, to another spring, another summer, another fall harvest in the land of silence and helicopters, with the perverse addictions of policemen and politicians, in the strange beauty of the rough, dry land of rains and rebirths, the green, green land of marijuana ….