Ice Fishing On Acid


Acid Trip 

I worked with a woman, years ago, who grew up in Minnesota. This was at a nursery in Southern California. My co-worker had a ton of plant knowledge. She was also a self-described shaman who hinted at extrasensory perception and levitation skills. She’d attempted to homestead a plot in the Minnesota back country—a feat that requires maintaining a residence for seven years, year round—before abandoning the effort and relocating to San Diego. I suppose she had paid her dues and deserved all the eighty degree and sunny weather she could get. She told me that when she was growing up she used to drop acid and go ice fishing, meaning essentially that in sub-freezing temperatures, she sat in an outhouse-sized building, staring into a small hole cut into a frozen-over lake, and tripped balls. Talk about your set and setting.

Guilt Trip 

When I watch the nightly news these days I feel guilty. The world is a crazy, spooky, violent place, and here I am living in a peaceful oak forest, spending my days writing, playing music, and, when I am working, working with friends. The rest of the country is buried in ice, wind, and snow, and we are enjoying a sort of endless spring-time here in the North State. We have a lot of good things up here, and also some serious necessities that, if current climate trends persist, everybody is going to want. We have good soil, rich with nutrients as a result of countless millennia of flooding. We have plentiful water; it siphons out of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and flows into area streams, rivers, and aquifers. And we get a lot of sun. Those are the ingredients the world needs to create food. No food, no living.

Future Trip 

The future is unwritten, but if I were a betting man who’d also happened to study basic statistics, I’d put money on the human population continuing to rise. Without any climate change at all that puts a strain on food production and supply. If things stay the same, water still gets scarce. Factor in potential dramatic climate change and those obvious trends become—how would you say—exaggerated? On the bright side, current and changing conditions could solve America’s obesity epidemic in a hurry.

Be Here Now 

Oh well, what can you do? Put your head down and do the good work, then put the blinders on and ignore the gathering turbulence that is swirling all around us all the time. Whistle a cheerful tune as you pass through the ever-expanding bone yard. I still can’t determine if the world is mostly good, but we see the bad, or if it’s mostly bad, but we focus on the good. Maybe it’s right in the middle. Maybe the question is completely bogus. Good, bad, I suppose half the time it depends on who’s asking, and where they happen to be standing at the moment.

Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.