The Long Strange Golden Road by Courtenay Pollock - Chapter 4

Back to Chapter 3

The illusions and delusions of this dream we call our life support a myriad of scenarios that gratify or subdue us.

We create the apparent reality of our lives. We choose the attitude we adopt moment by moment. The face we show to the world is of our own choosing. Yes, we are creatures of emotion and subject to those influences, but if you don’t like the way you feel then change your attitude.

During the period of my first entry into the world of the Grateful Dead family I was an ascetic on a spiritual journey aspiring to ever higher awareness of consciousness. I had forgotten how to hold a banal conversation, or what it was to relate to people in mundane terms. I would create a conversation that was esoteric yet personal to the person I was conversing with thereby engaging them in a consciousness out of their normal realm of familiarity. This made me somewhat of an enigma among the wonderfully down to earth, hardy and practical men and women of my adopted family. 

One day following my afternoon meditation in the tranquility of the Redwood house I called home I decided that I needed to ground myself in order to more fully relate to people in a way they might more easily know and understand me. 

I had been a practicing celibate for the past year for the purpose of spiritual development. I realized that the fastest way to get grounded was to get laid. Sexual congress would certainly bring me down to earth faster than anything i could think of.

My cottage was situated a good 100 yards off the valley road into the redwood trees. It was a very private and secluded situation that a person was unlikely to simply stumble upon.

Within a minute of coming to my life changing decision to have a girlfriend there was a knock on my front door. There stood a beautiful young lady who introduced herself as Deborah, she was  wanting to meet the person who now inhabited this cottage.

I said “ I’m Courtenay, I guess you are here to stay for a while”. She smiled demurely and with a low chuckle said “Maybe, we’ll see”.

Within the hour we were in the throes of an exquisite carnal experience. 

Be careful what you wish for because you create your own reality. Oh yes, I got laid many times that night and in the morning found myself in the grip of a mighty come down.

The extraordinary clarity of mind that I had been experiencing for so long now was suddenly occluded somewhat and I was suffering the pangs of negative thought for the first time in a long period of sublime overview. I was used to creating my reality consciously moment by moment. As I thought so it became step by step. I could literally walk through the rain without getting wet. On many occasions I walked to Weir and Frankie’s ranch a mile down the road through the gentle rain and would arrive dry. Frankie would look at me curiously and ask if i had driven down because I was still dry. It was simple for me to hold that state of mind that kept the rain off me.

And now that wonderful period of Grace that I didn’t even realize I dwelt in was eroding.

Thus started the beginning of a long spell of descent from that lofty realm (of Grace) that I had lived in for so long .


  • Hi Courtenay – Great storytelling…what a time! So many interesting characters in that scene. The image of chopping wood while the Dead crew looked on…oh man. Waiting for Chapter 5.

    Sean Schonfeld
  • hey courtney — how kind of you to share such a wonderful story. i thoroughly enjoyed your long strange golden road, describing it only as an almost forest gump-like journey finding yourself at the nexus of such cool, groundbreaking folk and in a time and space of an early grateful dead family still forming. — the beautiful chrysalis that was marin in the late sixties was a place of my childhood and our trails likely crossed. my dad was away as a navy corpsmen caring for u.s. marines struggling in viet nam. my mom became very creative in ways to keep us three kids occupied. we went on many hikes in the forests north of the san francisco. — yes, beautiful marin. i clearly remember seeing in the distance the great round house under construction, my young mind thinking it would be the ultimate hilltop fort. i imagined gazing on the ocean and rolling hills from its many windows and terraces. as i grew older i sometimes thought it may have been only my imagination. — and i recall visiting a little flea market where the chimneys of strange glass vessels sent tendrils of sweet smoke into the air and seemingly everywhere was vibrant multi-colored cloth billowing on the breeze. — later i saw that same kaleidoscopic-quality in the cloth of an enormous stage backdrop at a concert i now know was the grateful dead performing at the famed greek theatre at u.c. berkeley. — those are warm memories of my young life. they influence me to this day. your brief memoir now brings them back into stark focus. i no longer believe they are fancies of a youthful imagination. — my older self is left wanting to read more tales from your long strange golden road. for instance, you leave us in chapter four lamenting the loss of your clear state of grace. such a bummer for you, man. in my imagination you eventually reached the spiritual heights of that lofty place. very best regards — chrisbee

    christopher j bright
  • I am totally enjoying your writing, Courtenay.

    Is Frankie the same woman I met at the Rex from GDTSTOO?

    Oh yes the windowpane. 100 mics, you say? Yum yum great stuff.


Leave a comment