Yesterday afternoon I was driven back from the woods, and started trying to plug myself back in to reality. I hadn’t slept at all the night before. I wrote the most sense I could, left a few incomprehensible messages on people’s phones and joined a Buddhist meeting on Zoom where I probably came across as batshit crazy. Even the blog yesterday was bulked up with a poem.

Today I’m still screen averse. I want to be alone with nature to properly try and break down what I might have learnt over the course of the healing. Eternity is a lot to sift through, and it feels like we went round a number of times. Having been in the woods a few days I was wide open, and trusting Jethro totally I let him work on me and opened myself wide.

If souls go round and round then lots of us have been doing it since the dawn of creation. The splintering from silence to reality. The word, or the thought, or the explosion that bust us from nothingness into everythingness. Then the splintering of consciousness over time to form all these worlds and all these times existing simultaneously a fingers breadth away from one another, filled with exchangeable opposites – light and darkness, death and life, creation and destruction – it has carried a lot of shards of awareness.

I completely lost track of who I was quite early in the process. My personal consciousness got whacked out of me and replaced by webs of connection and thoughts coming at a speed and frequency that defied time. We went deep into a journey through spacetime connecting with aspects of possible past lives and things totally outside my comprehension that somehow made some sort of sense. At one point I believe I was speaking an ancient version of Chinese, at another a dead language, but my recollection of these moments involve a totally different place and shape to me, and vocal placements and sounds that I didn’t know I could make, coming easily. It’s nice to use the word “I” now, as that seemed ludicrous for a while. I’m going to use it, although “this one,” or “we” makes a lot more sense.

Anybody that does this sort of thing recreationally is a fuckwit. I almost jumped into the fire at one point and I’ve got a history of lucid dreaming. And the fact I didn’t put my shoes in the fire thinking they were logs is testament to the fact that even in one of the most cosmic states of being I’ve ever experienced I can still occasionally look out for myself. Base level self preservation. It’s a skill.

There was a moment where I grounded for a second and thought with perfect clarity: “this is the DMT release from the pineal gland at the point of death, slowing time and providing strange visions. I’m dead. How unusual that I’m hallucinating three nights in the woods. Or did I just have a heart attack? Damn. There’s still so much left to do!”

There were three moments where I was wiped out violently – assassinated by cosmic beings. I came back because I had a scratched up two pence piece in my back pocket that I didn’t even know I had that somehow came to represent the secret spark of life. “Didn’t know about that did you you fucker!” They did, of course. They had let me back. It felt like I was playing out a reflection of some ancient moment – Prometheus stealing fire, perhaps. It was hellish. Temporarily saved by mischief, and all of creation in a mangled 2p piece.


I wanted to go back into life. So clearly I’m enjoying whatever this is. And clearly there’s stuff I need to do or they wouldn’t have let me.

It feels like I trod a fine line between life and death for a while but I’ve got a chance to do things better going forward. After they killed me a few times they took everything out and put most of it back but it was a hard thing to experience. It seems to have changed some things inside me though. Quite a lot didn’t go back in and I don’t think I’ll miss it.

I don’t want booze right now. It was my weapon of choice against myself and now it feels I’ve been given a sense of where I was heading with that relationship. I also don’t want to eat meat, which is a very unusual sensation, having sat by the fire gorging rare ribeye steaks with my hands just two days previously. In fact I’ve been vegan since I got back although I doubt that’ll last but it’s worth a try for a while.

Considering I got out of the cosmic tribunal literally by the skin of my teeth, I need to make sure I make some use of this chance to go back and pretend I’m called Al Barclay and that I have meaty arms and legs and am subject to time.

It took me a long time to find myself again in the morning. “I’ve got my wife and kids,” says Jethro. “They’re a strong draw to life. I worried about you as you haven’t got so much to pull you back”. Ow. Yes. But somehow my call to life is strong. My friends. My joy. My calling.

Dawn had broken. I refused to sleep though – I couldn’t sleep – the threat of oblivion hung too close for me to risk sleep until I was sure it wouldn’t stealthily bring death.

Instead I wandered in the woods mumbling to myself. I knew my name but my memory was clouded to the point of being totally unapproachable. I was a few unfamiliar people simultaneously. We sat beneath an oak and chanted, trying to use this empty-headedness as an opportunity channel the Shakyamuni who we blearily understood found Nirvana under a tree.

I started to remember pieces, but in the back of the car I was still about as useful in conversation as a Furby. I then went on a mission back to Hampstead, partly to make sure the snake was watered, and partly because if I’d wandered into my Chelsea block as I was, covered with mud from head to toe, the gossip would’ve been inevitable and dull. So I got a cross town Uber to Mel’s.

“Excuse the mud,” I said to the driver. “I’ve been gardening. Digging around, cutting off the bad stuff. I’m exhausted. It’s hard work, gardening.” True on one level. True enough not to be a lie. “What’s it like, being a gardener?” “You get dirty. But if you cut the right bits off then you can make something beautiful. So long as you keep maintaining it. It’s the maintenance that’s key.”

Miles and miles… Here we go.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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