Best Witches Issue 13
We pulled into the camping site in the late afternoon. We had gotten a campsite about an hour from where we were going to be kayaking from the next morning. The sun was still peeking through the trees giving us just enough to set up the tent. We had one of the giant tents that was big enough for us to have multiple bedrolls in. We had packed our own firewood, and while the girls put the finishing touches on the sleeping quarters, I managed to drag it out from the car to the pit.
Before it got too late, I stacked a few logs and snapped my fingers. The caught fire quickly, snapping and popping deliciously. I rubbed my hands above the flames enjoying the last kiss of heat from the day, the fresh, crisp air of the night, and the warm caress of the fire. All the sensations twirled and tangled together. The frogs were starting their nightly songs.
I ran back to the car to grab the next most essential necessities. The drinks and the ceremonial pipe. It had been so long since we had a great night communing with mother nature. We had guessed this would be the best time to get back to it. Heading back the girls were already in their chairs around the fire. The sun was setting behind the trees and across the lake.
“I’m so happy you guys were able to do this with me. It wouldn’t have been the same without you,” I said, soaking in the peace radiating from the three of us in our element. I had had this unnerved feeling the entire trip since we had left Chicago.
“I am too, I needed a break!” Finley said holding out her hand for the pipe.
I handed it to her. As I sat, I started to pour the three of us drinks. Peyton was getting into her bag of potions and finding all the right herbs and powders. We had kept an eye out earlier, but we seemed like a well enough distance from the other campers, but we had placed some spells surrounding our camp just in case. Peyton took a handful of her mixture and threw it on the fire. The flames sparked green and leaped into the air.
“This always seems to really bring us back to who we are doesn’t it?” Peyton said. “No work, no stress, just us and the mother.”
Finley had taken the first puff from the pipe and let out a brilliant blue haze. It swirled itself into a hawk soaring above the flames. Peyton handed me a mixture, and as she drew upon the pipe I threw it in, the fire roared purple. Her smoke came out green and settled into a turtle making its way around the fire pit. Peyton handed Finley her mixture, and it was my turn with the pipe. It’s said with this pipe every person who smokes it tastes something different. As Finley threw in her mixture and the flames turned a blue hue, I inhaled deeply.
The smoke was different every time. This time I could taste the morning dew, a thunderstorm, and slowly it turned dark like the dirt of a grave. I sputtered blowing my smoke out in a rush. It curled and twined, and the steady eye of a koi fish looked right at me before slipping through the flames. Good luck, perseverance, and grave dirt. What did that mean? The girls seemed lost in thought after their own experiences. I set the pipe down and handed out the cups. The fire and the pipe were a tradition. The way we opened each camping trip. Giving us something to meditate on while we sat with the mother through the night.
We each took our cup, stood, and howled as we tapped the plastic sides together. We dissolved into a fit of giggles. The girls went into memories, and the fun they had in Chicago, while I sat and listened quietly. I couldn’t help but smile at the girls. Feeling the love for them well within me. I couldn’t imagine my life without these two lovely ladies and our adventures or just lazy days at home. Every good memory was tied to them while painful ones were dulled by their care. Was this ache in my chest, the tightening of my anxiety, just a feeling that this would soon change? That my life maybe wouldn’t have them in every critical moment? Or was it something more? Something more ominous?
Feeling my brooding mood, they got up and grabbed my hands. We kicked the chairs back and danced and sang around the fire. We whooped and hollered and let our hair down as we danced and drank and revealed. Eventually once the moon was high, and the drinks were gone, we piled into the tent and told stories until we couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer.
Thank you, Sean Eike, for the image this week.