Cannabis and the Legend of the Sand Dollar by Airie Hicks
“By smoking marijuana that morning, I was given the gift of enhanced appreciation.”
Airie Hicks is a 27-year-old wife and mother of three girls who lives in San Antonio, Texas where she enjoys writing, independent study and spicy Tex-Mex. We walk with her by the sea as she develops a new respect for nature’s majesty, and we find a humble sand dollar containing a precious message.
Every puff of marijuana smoke brings an adventure. Perceptions become heightened, and senses sharpen, becoming acute and aware.
One of my fondest memories of smoking marijuana was in the graceful embrace of the ocean side. I stood on the beach with my mother and my youngest daughter, feeling the deepening warmth of the mid-morning sun on my face, arms and legs.
Although I had smoked pot dozens of times prior to my experience at the beach, it was this particular event that changed my life and made me want to observe my natural physical surroundings high from then on, released from the grip of stifling social reality.
In my usual smoking life, I enjoy marijuana privately in my home, where I like to watch television and movies, listen to music, read, play with my three daughters, flirt with my husband and actively imagine under the influence. I didn’t realize I was missing a whole other world.
Everything was different at the beach that day. Living in Texas has afforded me many opportunities at the coast, but none were as lucid as this one. When my mother and I arrived, we pulled our car to a deserted stretch of sand and shared a joint in the sheltered shade of wind ravaged trees. As I began to relax, the first thing I noticed was the wind. It was like a living, breathing entity, first stroking my hair, then playfully fluttering my shirt, then tickling my toes and beginning again in ceaseless repetition. I could hear the sounds the wind was making, almost as if I could predict which way it would stream next, even before it knew. I felt like I could see the wind as well, not the impact it has on other objects, but a visceral outline of the element itself. That experience was only the beginning.
As we stepped away from the car and toward the skirt of the ocean, nature illuminated herself for me to see, and I was a lone specimen in a vast galaxy. I was completely content.
It was a perfect cloudless day, just miles and miles of blue arching overhead that melted into the miles and miles of blue drifting before us. The sun had not yet reached its pinnacle in the sky, and its heat was not yet so overbearing as to be exhausting. Warm rays soaked my skin as though I’d been kissed by nature’s magic wand. I couldn’t help smiling.
I had taken my shoes off in the car, so I felt every gradient of sand, from the soft fluffy white sand far from the water’s edge, to the seaweed spattered sand nearer to the water, to finally the drenched, compressed, squishy sand beneath the sea. Being high, I was able to fully appreciate the moment, rather than enjoying only the surface of the experience.
The water was still cold; a wintry March had not yet heated the ocean to a comfortable temperature, but it was marvelous nonetheless. The Gulf seemed infinite. Sparkles of sunlight bounced off every molecule, dazzling my eye. I was enraptured, spellbound and free of anxiety or worry. The waves crashing upon themselves made a deafening sound, commanding respect as though the ocean were a General in majesty’s army. To speak at that moment would have been sacrilegious.
After some time, I wandered slowly and deliberately up the shore, pausing on occasion to watch the water. I could hardly take my eyes off of it. The wind remained with me the entire time. As I walked, I looked at the sea shells that had washed up with the seaweed. I was surprised to find that most of the shells were intact and unbroken. On my way back to where my mother stood holding my daughter, I happened to look off to the left of where I was walking. Something grabbed my attention, although from where I stood I couldn’t tell what the object was. I bent to where it was and gasped aloud. There on the stiff sand was a perfectly round, unbroken sand dollar. Growing up near the Gulf, I had always hoped to find an unbroken, flawless sand dollar, but all the ones I had ever seen were crunched or for sale as high-priced novelty items in tourist shops. At last I had found a whole one, unmolested by human hands, sea cruelty or time.
The legend of the sand dollar, in addition to being saturated in Christian lore, tells of five white doves locked inside that, when cracking the surface of the sand dollar directly in the center, are released to fly away and spread peace throughout the world. I picked up the sand dollar as if it were a delicate bomb that could erupt in my hands at any second. I wanted the doves to remain inside, a perpetual reminder of the potential for world peace. It was a wondrous piece of treasure that I had discovered by chance on a blue sky day.
By smoking marijuana that morning, I was given the gift of enhanced appreciation. By observing my surroundings and taking the time to revel outdoors, I had escaped the inner sanctum of my home and wandered into the elusive grace of nature. I can only hope my future adventures with marijuana will be as personally rewarding.