The River is a strange place, full of pulling and tugging and longing and dancing sunlight. It can clean your soul, leave you purified after you toss your pain into its sweet, green current. You can have picnics by the River, festivals and dalliances. I love the River. Haved loved it all my life, felt its green heart song in my own flowing heart and yet there is a darkness there too. Bodies get thrown into the River by murderers, women walk into them with rocks in their pockets to take their souls for a ride down the current.My sister and I went out to the River on Wednesday. We brought chai, pumpkin muffins, an old quilt and our best woven shawls to enjoy the cool Autumn air in. We brought the camera to take photos of our little picnic together.
It was a bright sparkling day for letting go of old pain, for embracing new beginnings and just enjoying each other’s company. We were laying out the Faerie cards for each other when two men came onto the overlook deck, said good afternoon Ladies, introduced themselves and asked how we were. I could smell that sweet smell of alcoholism on them…it is a distinctive smell…sweetness overlaying a rancid base, like rotting apples left under the tree. The ratfaced man sat down next to me, told me he was not a bad man and asked boldly for a reading. I was polite. I rode that fence with a watchful eye and violence already building up in my chest for a fight. I did a reading for him and his toothless uncle who was afraid of us and the cards we laid out. When Ratface asked for another, I said one more and that’s it. Who knows what kind of bullshit I told him but I held my pink steel water bottle like a weapon…what’s that Ani de Franco line…any tool is a weapon if you hold it right? and tapped it against the wood of the deck. My sister took out her phone and said we were meeting our Dad here soon with the kids. He got the hint as I looked directly in his eyes but he looked back and asked to see the Death card.
The Death Card. So I showed it to him. If he wanted to see his own Death by a Witch’s hands then so be it. Ha…I’d like to think so…and maybe I could but the truth is, I know how strong a man can be when he doesn’t want to let you go.
His arms turn into a steel cage.
But these men…they left.
I think there may have been too many factors working against them.
We would have fought but would that River have taken us anyway and by then would we have been glad for the solace of its cool and flowing current?
It’s a question that doesn’t bare asking and our intuition concerning these men’s malicious intent will never tolerate doubt for we felt the sparkling light around us, the Listeners and The Mother and when I did a reading later that night, it was Death and The Mother shielding us from them. Our other sister felt a sense of alarm all day and a strong pull from the ancestors. And our friend had a dream about us.
I had a dream about the two of you last night. I dreamt I was swimming in a river and there were rocks and snakes. The river flowed into a house where there was a clock hanging on the wall and there was a purple scarf around it. When I touched the clock, I thought the scarf was black and it made me sad…but I heard the voice of both of you and you said collectively it was purple and not black and that it meant I should show my feelings. It was so real.
These things leave no room for doubt that we survived something bad.
It is good to be a strong and bold witch and look a ratfaced man in the eye and watch him leave with his uncle but it is better to be alive and run your hand along the ginger hairs of your beloved’s arm and kiss the soft cheek of your daughter as she sleeps.