- Baynard Woods
I used to spend a lot of time translating Ancient Greek texts and I always thought that it was best to read Greek stoned. Because, if anyone tells you they know Ancient Greek, you can know they are lying. It is a language that one must constantly struggle through, always flipping back and forth between various reference books. When I was just coffee’d up, I’d often speed through, often missing the more interesting nuances of words. But when I was high, I would go into what we now, on the internet, call a rabbit hole. Which is funny because the Greek-English Lexicon is called “Liddell & Scott” after its first two compilers and Liddell was the father of Alice Liddell who was the subject of fellow Oxford Don Charles Dodgson’s pseudonymous work Alice in Wonderland, from where we take the rabbit hole analogy.
It’s also fitting that we call an ancient text the “corpus” or the body, because in shuttling back and forth from reference to reference to read it, it feels like one is providing the head, restoring the life to the body. I had that last thought 20 years ago, stoned in Albuquerque and trying to read Sophocles’ Women of Trachis and looking at a headless Sophocles statue that my friend drunkenly stole for me from the bar where he worked.
I thought of this again, staring at the same statue, stoned on Space Face, when I read about a research paper published last June that dates the earliest evidence of cannabis smoking as part of religious ceremonies in western China around the same time Sophocles was writing that play (Herodotus details stoned Scythians burning weed, too, but this is the earliest archeological evidence).
And at its best, that is the kind of stoned rabbit hole that Space Face sends you down, almost literally creating more space behind your face for association and connecting facts. It is full of moments when you are so immersed and amazed by something that you realize you have not been breathing but have been instead rested, slack-jawed, with what writer Lawrence Weschler called “a pillow of air” between your teeth.
The buds I got were small and kind of dry, almost flaky with white crystals in a way that seems more like breakfast cereal than a plant. But they’re wrapped with a crisp piney scent, and pinene, I’m coming to think, is the most associative of terpenes (which is probably why we put pines in our house during the winter), but it is almost more like thyme than pine — or pine with a bit of marsh grass thrown in.
Sophocles wrote “count no one happy until they’re dead,” and I think we could adapt that to say count no high good until you’ve experienced the come-down. Space Face, in this regard, makes you pay a little for its light and insight with a slight drag on the back end, but it is the kind of lethargy that can follow sex or a good meal and isn’t entirely, as the queen would have it, losing one’s head.