Beltane Beltane Moon
Working on tours today. Discovered a sculpture by Henry Moore that I inhabited once, long ago, the year 1969. Just south of Kenwood Avenue my then wife’s brother, Bob Merritt, lived in a large flat with other undergraduates attending the University of Chicago.
Kenwood marked the dividing line between Hyde Park, the upper middle class enclave gathered around the University and the South Side. The South Side, known for gangs and poverty and community organizers began at their building. So much so that one evening a gang of thieves with shotguns held all the students while they robbed the apartment. Didn’t get much. University students? Geez.
As a guest, I joined in a big weekend party that had plenty of drugs, sex and rock and roll. No sex for me. Married. But drugs? Oh, yes, please. Mescaline, cut at the time with strychnine for a faster rush. We sat around on mattresses on the floor, classic college student high decor. At one point I leaned against a bare wire and got an electric shock.
Oh. Boy. That lit me up inside and out.
Later on we decided to get something to eat and went for a stroll around campus, near Billings Hospital. Alonzo Stagg stadium where Enrico Fermi first split the atom. Used to be right there. Fermi and others under stadium. Playing with an energy source known only to Shiva at that time. In a container enclosed with regular bricks, if I recall correctly.
There, on the site of Fermi’s experiment sat this sculpture by Henry Moore. Taken by the explanation of its purpose, I crawled up inside and sat there, mind altered by the mescaline molecules, imagining the splitting of the atom, down to a very fine detail. I inhabited the split, a part of it, riding the cascading protons and neutrons and electrons. I forgot about the food, about the evening. I sat there for quite a while, back in Alonzo Stagg stadium, as Fermi worked his magic.
Later on I walked back to the flat.