Tree Hugging

March 2015

I wasn’t feeling it. I had taken a full year off after being restructured out of my last corporate job, so I really should go to San Francisco for a game conference and do the networking and interview rounds. However, I really didn’t feel like going. At all.

A week before the conference, my good friend, The Mexican Painter called me. “My wife thinks I should go the conference and just hang out with you. She thinks you’re good for me. I have a room at the Marriott and already paid $1,500 for the badge.” I thought about it and said “Sure, why the fuck not. We can just go hang out and hug trees up there or something.”

Day 1
The night before heading up to meet The Painter in San Francisco, I had a weird dream where I was at his other-dimensional wedding where there were stone pillars in a temple by the sea. It felt like Greece, and there were people walking on carpets, floating in the sea. As I drove the roadster up the coast for the conference, I listened to podcasts, including the Tim Ferriss Show – Glitch Mob Interview and decided that I would look up Glitch Mob and see them in concert after I returned to San Diego.

I got my medical marijuana card after moving back to California, and brought a vape, bud, and edibles. Before The Painter and I went out to dinner, I gave him a “sampler platter” of everything I brought. We got super blazed.

We went to an industry dinner with some friends, and The Painter was totally dazed. I described my dream to him, and we both watched as a holographic projection of my dream appeared on the dinner table. He says, “I can see it in 3D. I’ve been to this place in my dreams before.” Dinner was great, conversations were great, and afterwards, I was planning to get some more drinks with my friends. The Painter said he needed to go back to the room. “OK, you know how to get back, right?” The Painter looked at me, completely lost, and says, “Dude, I am so high right now, there’s no way.” I walked him back to the hotel and went out with friends for a while longer before crashing.

Day 2
The next day, I woke up and said, “Let’s go hug some trees.” We cruised north, out of San Francisco with the top down in the roadster, crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and headed into beautiful Marin County. It was a gorgeous day. We had lunch and micro-brew beers at Marin Brewing Company and headed up to Muir Woods. I lived in Marin for a few years back in the 90’s so it brought back fond memories of an innocent age. When we reached Muir Woods, we simply hiked into the forest, silently meditating and absorbing the forest. Since that day, I’ve developed a practice of placing my palm on trees and listening. It feels like a download of Gaia energy and information into my subconscious mind. We spent a few hours in the forest, and headed back to the City late in the afternoon for dinner.


Day 3
The Painter and I hopped into the roadster and headed up to Napa Valley. On our way up the freeway, a dump truck in front of us suddenly slammed on the brakes, the tires started smoking, and the truck started shuddering across the asphalt into my lane. I hit my brakes, slowing down, unsure if the truck was going to slide over or even tip over into my lane. Time s-l-o-w-e-d  d–o–w–n. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw a large sedan speeding towards us. I pulled onto the grass behind another car that was also dodging the truck, and the sedan behind us slammed into the dump truck at full speed with squealing tires and a loud metallic crash.

We sailed through the disaster untouched with exhaust, tire smoke, grass, and dirt flying everywhere in slow motion. Whoa.


We arrived in Napa Valley, and I wasn’t able to get cell reception, so we got lost. I pulled over to the side of road into a parking lot, and we were hungry so just ate at the random restaurant that we arrived at. It was the Rutherford Grill. It was quite crowded there at lunch, so we sat in a waiting area and savored some icy cold beers. We had wedge salad and rotisserie chicken. Absolutely simple, and one of the best meals of my life. Nothing quite like a near death experience to heighten the senses.

After lunch, without navigation, we wandered beautiful wine country, the warm air almost caressing us as we cruised around random roads with the top down. We arrived at a quaint, beautiful winery, Delectus, and walked into their tasting room. There was no one there. I pulled out my iPhone which had a signal here, and dialed their number, and the landline phone in front of us rang. Shortly after, the staff arrived, and we were invited to join a private tour that afternoon in the private back room. We spent the afternoon and drank several incredible (complimentary) bottles of wine with a married couple with an infant, did some vaping, and had an incredible time. It was a long leisurely afternoon learning about wine and the winery, and sipping wine and tasting cheese. We find out that our lunch spot was the favorite spot for locals in the restaurant business in the Napa Valley.

As we are driving back to the City, The Painter says:

“Wow. Today was amazing. It could have been a very different day.”

Dinner was with art directors from three major game companies, Riot, Blizzard, and Valve. That was cool, and I got invited to the Valve party after dinner. We walked over to the venue, and I went in and hung out with the art directors, and had some drinks. Then, they announced that Glitch Mob would be performing. Whoa. Synchronicity. My friends stayed in the other room to talk art, and I wandered alone through the crowd as it seemingly melted away. It felt as though I was having a private concert. I was in the front row, blazed, and it was an incredible and surreal experience.



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