Pia and Raven sat around the little round table in their kitchen, the remains of a good meal and a good story in front of them. Their black mutt Yew was curled up at their feet. Raven sat as he often did with his chair kicked back on two legs. To Pia it always seemed that he was balanced too precariously, yet over the years, she’d learned that nothing short of an earthquake could tip him over.
“So you had a powerful magical encounter this morning and it confirmed the feelings you were getting that we’re not meant to take on that eco-tourist business,” summarized Raven, picking kale strands out of his teeth.
“Do you mind? It’s not that the business isn’t meant to happen or that our thinking will go to waste….”
“We’re just not meant to be the ones getting the fruits of that planning.”
“Yes,” she agreed wryly. “As usual….”
“And we have to find the people who will take it on. Plus you have to discover what it is that you are meant to be doing. Okay. That’s cool. I can live with it. Can’t argue with the Voice of Gaia.”
“Thank you for being so understanding.”
“Did you think I would be anything else? You’ve put up with plenty of my scatter-brained schemes and about faces in the middle of the road.”
“I knew you’d understand. We’ve never followed the usual routes before. I didn’t think you would mind this time either…. still….”
“Where will you start since the Voice didn’t hand you a playbook?”
“I’ve been thinking about that all afternoon, of course. I could talk to the Conservancy Trust crew. Rumor is they’ve gotten purchase options on some special land along the estuary.”
“Really? Where? You didn’t tell me?”
“I was told in confidence. I can keep secrets when I need to, unlike some people I could mention.”
“Humph,” said Raven pretending to be surprised and offended at the same time.
“Anyway, they’re about to launch a capital campaign and are hiring someone to run that campaign.”
“Do you think you have the energy for that work just now?”
“My question exactly. Yet it feels like a practical step to take on behalf of the River. The money side has always fascinated me. I have the contacts from the fundraising we did to get the Housing Trust and Elk Ridge going. This will be easier. Certainly less to explain. Preserving estuary lands is as conventional as motherhood and apple pie these days and Owen says our Bay is high on the state and federal lists because a large percentage remains undeveloped.”
“You just expressed an energy drain around doing that sort of work. As worthy as it sounds, it will take over. I’m not sure it’s the side of your brain you should be working from.”
“Am I being too noble again?” she asked plaintively, a side of her that few people ever saw.
He cocked an eyebrow at her.
“Okay, maybe I should follow up on the hospice caretaking for the money side…. That’s still noble, isn’t it?” She smiled ruefully. “But working with the dying is hands-on and direct so it uses a totally different energy. It’s almost like it turns me on…. At the same time I’m going to figure out – or more likely be open to guidance about – a ceremonial way to honor the Salmon and the River that includes the native peoples. Perhaps a festival at salmon return. Plus something else to keep them in the forefront of our minds during the year.”
“You know the whole thing smacks of your Pisces Rising. You’ve been wondering what that means. You’ll be conjuring on behalf of the fish and the river. Learning the watery side of yourself.”
“Oh, Raven,” she breathed. “Why didn’t I think of that? My magical fish self that I am here to learn about. Yee gods and little fishes. You’d think I could’ve figured that out. Guess we can’t always see what is right in front of our noses. Good thing we have each other…. and our community.…”
“Awk!” said Raven, putting his chair back on four legs and pushing away from the table. “I’ll do the dishes.” He reached into the cool box to put away the yogurt. The cool box was a cupboard he’d built it into the house because he hadn’t wanted the noise of a refrigerator thrumming. It was insulated to the inside and open at the top to vent out naturally rising heat. He and Lindsay-the-Architect had worked hard to see how close to zero energy use the houses in Elk Ridge could be.
“So we need to manifest someone for the aforesaid eco-tourist business,” mused Raven.
“Is it enough just to think it or should we get a conjure crew together?” asked Pia.
“Let’s see how it unfolds for the moment. I don’t have time or energy right now….” replied Raven, his hands in the dishpan. “…. Actually I have something else I was going to bring up tonight that’s been nagging at me again. The Trickster has been nipping my butt – Spirit Raven or Coyote. Uranus coming on strong, as you would say.”
“Fire away,” said his partner, beginning to fiddle with the saltshaker. What other agonies was this day going to hold?
“Ummm…. well…. it’s sorta about fire.” Raven took a deep breath and turned around drying his hands on the raggedy pink dishtowel. “It’s about our sex life. We’ve been avoiding the issue for a while – giving it a rest so to speak but I don’t think ignoring it is doing us any good.”
“It’s not like you’ve made yourself available when I’ve made overtures,” retorted Pia sharply. “During the holidays when I put on the sexy negligee my sister sent me….”
“You know I can’t stand to have someone come on to me. It’s all too reminiscent….”
“So what the hell am I supposed to do? You think I’m seducing you if I try to lure you into bed. Which I am, of course, but…. How else are we supposed to get there? It’s such a fuckin’ double bind.”
“So to speak.”
“Ha ha.” There was sarcasm and bitterness in her voice. “I feel hypocritical about how non-existent our sex life is. Everyone thinks I am so voluptuous and out there. You have that rep too, Mr. Flamboyance. You have to admit we consciously play that up. I know I slept around a lot in the old days. I don’t even know who Arlo’s father is…. Besides someone at one of those wild parties during the demonstrations that spring…. A black man….”
“Presumably,” he said equally sarcastically. “I still don’t get it why you aren’t into making love when I do show interest. It’s like you are taking revenge on me for those other times.” Raven eyed Pia fiercely and she glowered back.
“Maybe I am. But not on purpose.”
“Goddammit, Pia, we’ve been over and over this. You know in detail, ad nauseam, how I was abused as a kid and find it hard to let go into physical intimacy. It’s not like you don’t have your own issues. I hate the way we’ve been sniping at each other constantly, while pretending there’s not anger there but….”
“I’m not saying we don’t have issues,” interjected Pia, skipping over the sniping part. “But when I’m feeling horny and want you to know it, you go deep into a book or project and I can’t pry you out of it.”
“When I’m turned on you can’t seem to find the spark. It’s like one of us always has to be unavailable. You seem to choose the times I’m otherwise absorbed to approach me. Like you know it’s safe because I won’t want to respond….”
“It ain’t news anymore that we both have wounded places that are shut down,” she interrupted again. “Our counseling work showed how perfectly matched we are, you and I, to keep each other at a subtle distance. Not to mention the beginnings of menopause which is obviously slowing me and my juices down. Yet, I know there is something deeper to be had between us. I so couldn’t bear it when it seemed like we were only rubbing body parts without really connecting. Yada yada….”
There was a pause while each thought back to the awful days when they were first wrestling openly with all this, not knowing what was at the root of their problems, each so resentful of the other. Anger. Spite. Confusion. Self-sabotage. And yes, even a little subtle revenge had crept in. It had taken a lot of June’s sand tray therapy and some journeying with Owen’s teacher in the city to achieve a sense of equilibrium about it. Now, despite the fact that the conversation was taking place while the sun was in Libra, it seemed balance had become a stale state as well. What could shake them up again? What magic could get their blood flowing? Resignation was a safe place to be but hardly the most creative, and not what their personas seemed to be “advertising” and presumably asking for.
Pia broke the silence. “I agree that leaving it alone isn’t getting us anywhere either. Will starting the Ecstatic Spirit Dance will light some sparks in us? I like your poster, by the way.”
“Dance certainly is body centered so I’m kinda hoping it will shift the energy, but who knows. Your belly dancing phase opened up some tight places in you but that was at a point when I was particularly shut down after all those revelations about priests and Boy Scout leaders. Hit a little too close to home they did.”
“Should we go talk to June again?”
“We’ve had therapies up the wazoo. Somehow I’m not sure anything new will come out of that….”
“I know what you mean. Maybe this is another of those things we need to let season some more.”
“Sigh. I brought it up cause I want you to know I’m conscious of it and want to move forward in some way. I’m wondering if it might help if we could start talking about it in Medicine Circles,” suggested Raven.
“You’ve said that before and I suppose we should but I can’t quite bring myself to. Too scary. Hypocrisy again.” Pia began to cry.
“Aw, honey. No need to go there. Our hormones ain’t ragin’ and we have so much in every other area….” He reached out for her and their two tall figures blended into a hug, though each was still awkwardly stiff, not knowing where to take this moment of intimacy. They knew they had ancient karma to work through that they’d explored some over the years of their relationship, but obviously at this point the impasse seemed insurmountable. Although the destructive nit-picky snarling at each other had been on the rise again of late, at least the subterranean anger blew through faster….
“I do think that others may be having more trouble than we think,” continued Raven, “If we could open up the subject with our nearest and dearest, we might all gain something….”
“Not yet, Raven. Please not yet. Maybe something else will arise….”
“Like my cock?” He chuckled. “That would be a breakthrough. And it would be lovely to have you juicy again. I had to bring up the subject, though. I know it’s really hard for you to talk about so I appreciate the effort that took.”
“Thank you, I guess, though I’m still feeling pretty grumpy about it. What a day. All my shit seems to be up. I should go check what Uranus and Chiron are up to.”
“Maybe your fishy river thing will bring on some flow.”
“It might. I know it strikes a deep chord in me, why not in the sexual arena as well as the spiritual.”
“We could go snuggle with a movie.”
“A sexy one?”
“Why not? Might as well have a vicarious thrill. But let’s take the pup out and wish on a star first.”
Yew pricked up her ears. It was good her humans were airing that sex business again. However stale the issue she hated it when their tension about it was on the rise. Why they couldn’t just tumble into bed was still a mystery to her. She sighed as she clambered to her feet.
The three of them went out together into the night.