“There is not a firm footstep throughout the track; each step is a kind of spastic foot flung forward landing on warm, muddy earth that forces itself up between your toes.”

Oh! The weekend I have had! I woke up, after my long trek to the 100 Mile Wilderness, on a soggy patch of ground with a cold morning dew beading off strands of my hair exposed through the mouth of my equally damp sleeping bag. There was a piercing pain in my stomach. I decided I needed a quick snack for the energy to build a fire to cook on. “No worries”, I thought, “I’ll just snack on these cat tails.”

Macula Dog

Anyone seasoned in long-term life in the forest would have done the same. A more readily available snack is rare. They were rather strange looking cattails thinking back on it now.

Before I go any further, let me introduce you to a band I’ve had on my main playlist for a number of weeks now—one that is a perfect companion to my experience—Macula Dog, their song “Jungle Swingers” in particular.

There is not a firm footstep throughout the track; each step is a kind of spastic foot flung forward landing on warm, muddy earth that forces itself up between your toes. It’s a kind of aural funhouse mirror inspiring a kind of blissful disorientation. It is just that, “blissful”, and don’t let yourself be convinced of anything else!

Whatever it is that lies at the heart of “Jungle Swingers” is a beautiful thing—and that same thing was at the core of the roots of these cattails I ate. Let’s be honest, whatever it was, it was not a cattail. A foolish mistake, a poorly identified plant.

It makes me wonder if the early shamans of our far distant past happened to make the same mistake—the same glorious mistake. I wonder if they found the same kind of terrifying wonder in the root of some strange plant. They were there, in my visions. I wonder how real that place was—and how real any place is.