I wrote out the lyrics to Across the Universe on a napkin while my mom grounded me for drawing pictures of mushrooms on my school binders when I was 16 . By then I’d already claimed John Lennon as my God and Abbey Road as my bible. At 17, Dad taught me how to roll a proper joint, although by then I’d already been stealing from his stash for a year. Clips from the Ed Sullivan Show and vinyl copies of Revolver weren’t enough. I was determined to see what they saw, to explore my own strawberry fields. Who needed Shakespeare when there was Jude, Prudence, and Eleanor Rigby?
It hit me as we were driving up Flagstaff Mountain. Caroline and I made the mistake of locking eyes, and thus ensued the 7 hours of nonstop laughter that followed. Depth perception was the first to go. Then short-term memory. Then tactile awareness. We were clichés of the Summer of Love babies, twisting and shouting and swirling but never really getting anywhere. Still, I was skeptical that I’d ever get on the same bus that carried Ringo and John and Paul and George across the world on their Magical Mystery Tour.
Then we reached the top. 15 degrees had dropped but we’d never been higher. I picked up my magic wand and began orchestrating the peaks and valleys. Aseema made angels in the dirty snow and exclaimed non-words with tears in her eyes, while Caroline peed behind a leaf-bereft tree thinking she was covered by a rainbow. Thoughts became passive realizations that came to me not in words but in colors and fragments of things I have no name for. A blotted 1 inch square turned into our vehicle of unconsciousness. Our own yellow submarine. We submerged, and came out dripping in diamonds from the sky. Coo Coo Ca Choo.