(Author’s Note: Excerpt from The Shaman’s Mirror, a novel in progress.)
Jason yelled, “It has to be here.”
Sarah had followed him over boulders, under boulders, and around boulders. They had balanced on precarious dead wood, crunched eons of desert scree, and scattered whistling round-tailed ground squirrels while looking for the opening to the cave, home of the Shaman’s Mirror.
He slapped the monolith next to them, the one he called Red Woman. “We’ve been all over this hill.” A bead of sweat dripped off his nose into his mouth. He sputtered and wiped it away with his sleeve. “It has to be here.”
Sarah didn’t know what to say. Heat rose from the desert floor. Amplified by the megalithic rock, it slowly roasted every brain cell she had. It was hard to breathe, her body dripped with sweat in all the places a woman should never drip, and she felt like slapping her partner upside the head for bringing them to this godforsaken place. She didn’t care if there was a Shaman’s Mirror, she just wanted to be someplace other than here, someplace cool.
A sudden blast of heat ruffled her hair. Behind her Jason groaned and sat at the base of Red Woman. Sarah looked across the impossible expanse of the Sonoran Desert in Southern Arizona before she joined him, sitting near with enough space between them to avoid the feel of his sweaty clothes.
To the east, long bony-fingered cactuses with bright red, flagged flowers waved as the forced air of the desert forge rushed against them. She’d dreamed these bony looking apparitions with their flaming fingernails. Ocotillo was the name of this cactus. In her dream, they frightened her, but as part of the wonder of the desert, she saw them as gloriously beautiful.
Jason was the first to notice the massive towers of thunderheads surging toward them. “Let’s get off this old rock and fast! Look what’s coming.” He pointed to the south. They were in the very worst place they could be, the top of the highest hill on the plateau. Sarah was at once thunderstruck by the ferocious beauty of the black clouds and terrified at the same time. “Oh my heavens!” She scrambled across the rocks following Jason who grabbed their packs and jumped to the desert floor.
He led her to an overhang on the west side of the hill where they crouched, waiting for the squall to pass over them.
He was calm, but Sarah wasn’t. Jason’s quiet stillness comforted her. A meditative symbiosis with the Earth settled over him, and consequently over her. As they nestled in their shelter, the desert tensed beyond it. Colors faded to a dusky blue. Birds, animals, and in fact all sound…disappeared, as if the Earth held her breath. Suddenly, lightning arched to the heavens, leaping from the ground to the sky. Her senses lasered to a point in time – Now – and, as if she saw a dream, the ancient dance of foreplay between Earth and Sky began.
Earth screamed lust, using her electric fingers to implore Sky’s motives.
Sky roared His answer, a deafening BOOM of thunder that rumbled and echoed across the desert.
The Earth sucked up energy as She prepared for another lightning strike.
Sarah’s womb tightened in response. Jason moved closer and took her hand, a silent reminder that she wasn’t the only human witnessing this dance of power. She pressed deeper under the overhang, back against rock, warmth against cool. Child against Mother.
Again, Earth shot Her hot fingers into Sky’s belly and screeched Her intent.
Sky rumbled and groaned with the strain of excitement.
Earth, not amused, struck Him again, and again, demanding satisfaction.
Again, and again Sky roared at her.
Earth, not placated, drew in a final whistling gasp and poked passionately at Sky once more with a display of electricity more frightening and dazzling than Sarah had ever seen in her life.
Sky bellowed twice, then, granted Earth the release She so greedily sought. Earth and Sky shuddered together, the torrential rain fell, fusing them, bringing life with one magnificent deluge.
With a crack and a flash, Earth screeched “More!”
Sky gifted Her with contented grumbles as He squirted Her fully with His life giving waters. Sky rumbled His finish and Earth moaned an answer.
A cool wind brushed Sarah’s face as Sky heaved away in a northerly direction. He chuckled as Earth’s lightning fingers tickled Him again, and again, begging for another coupling.
Jason stirred next to Sarah. She felt a jolt of energy as he touched her. Frisson built between them, and she gazed at him but he carefully ignored her. What spell would be broken here, if they shared a glance? A scent rose with the refreshing breeze, a spicy pungency that filled her heart, loosened her joints, and made her full. She sighed.
Jason squeezed her hand and said quietly, “It’s a gift from Mother Earth after a summer’s rain. The creosote bush sends tendrils of its scent to every woman within its range.” Jason then caught her eye. “It’s said that it fills the empty space in a woman’s heart and reminds her of her womanhood.” He lowered his eyes and whispered, “And her sexuality.”
Sarah, suddenly drunk with creosote perfume thought, “He is so beautiful.” She longed to reach out and touch his soft, cinnamon colored hair. The energy she felt before crackled between them. A wave of tenderness flooded her. He smiled. His eyes reflected the dramatic love affair they had just witnessed. Perhaps they would be heading for one of their own.