20. It is Up to You to Interpret the Code

The stoner grew weary and returned to his smoking spot in the woods.

He took out a single page of rolling paper and his bag of trees, now almost empty. He broke up the last of his trees with his hands, and he sprinkled them onto a page. He rolled it up and licked it shut and admired his work.

He tucked the joint into a hole on the side of a tree, and then he began:

“My work is almost done, but I must still reveal the Final Rule of Thumb, the one which all the others have built toward, the most important one of all.

“I have spoken to you only of trees, but the Code is not just for smoking, but for living. And the Rules of Thumb are not only for when you are high, but for when you are sober, as well. For anyone can be good in the sky, but it is the ground that tests us.

“And so, each Rule of Thumb has one meaning, which I have given to you. But each has a deeper meaning that reaches beyond trees, to all of life, and this meaning you must find for yourself.

“So I say to you the 20th Rule of Thumb: It is up to you to interpret the Code.

“Through your study, you will come to a deeper understanding than I ever could have given you. For goodness comes not from a book, but from within. By thinking on the Code, you will reveal or discover or invent a broader understanding of each Rule of Thumb, and this understanding will help you embody the 4 Virtues of Openness, Honesty, Freedom, and Fun.

“These 4 Virtues are the entirety of my teaching, and the Rules of Thumb are but illustrations. But if you accept the 420 Code, you must measure yourself against your interpretation of them.

“If someone attacks you or the Code, do not attack them. For they may have a different interpretation, and if you fight, you will both be pulled to the ground. But if you are friends with everyone, everyone will be friends with you.

“This is the path to the highest high, where the grass is always greener. You may join me there if you wish. But if you do not, I must bid you farewell.”

A bee buzzed by the stoner and landed on a leaf. The stoner looked at the bee, and the bee looked back. They shared a moment together before it buzzed away.

And the stoner followed after it, traveling deep into the woods, and he was never heard from again.