Thursday, March 26, 2009

Persephone in the Springtime

This week is going by so fast. I don't know if it's because I've been swamped at work or because I have been busy in my free time but whatever it is, I feel like the weekend is already rushing up to greet me. It's nice when that happens. It means, most likely, I'll start the weekend feeling like I've been tremendously productive at work, that I've got a start on a new novel, and I'm relieved that I no longer have to feel obligated to look on eHarmony, because my membership is up. It's nice to look on the bright side of life.

Not that it's particularly bright outside today. It's another gloomy day, the rain lightly misting my car which, by the way, mysteriously smells like something died in it. I'm not sure why. I took out the rubbish the other day on the way to work. The dumpsters are on the way to the exit for my apartment complex so I through the rubbish in the boot of my car. It was only there for less than 3 minutes but it was long enough to make my whole car smell like mouldy potatoes. I bought one of those odor neutralizing air fresheners that wasn't supposed to be scented. Well, now, in addition to the rotting vegetable smell of my car, I now have a cloying layer of scent that smells like someone filled my car with SweetTart candy and then sprayed it with water. At least, that's what it smells like to me. I'm leaving my windows cracked open today in hopes that it returns my car to its usual unscented glory.

As I was driving in, I was noticing that, even in the gloom, Spring is taking over the world. I saw forsythias this morning, in bloom for the first time. For the ungardeners among you, forsythias are a shrub with really happy yellow blossoms. They're almost banana-yellow and manage to transform a drab yard into a thing of beauty with their casual cheerfulness.

I've been reading a book of Classical Myths and Stories in an attempt to be inspired to write another short story. It's fun reading; so many of the tales are familiar in title but I've never read them. The reason I bring this up is because I read the story yesterday of "The Seven Pomegranate Seeds". It's a story of how Core, the daughter of Demetra and Zeus became Perspephone. You see, she was a nice girl, very beautiful as all the Greek heroes and heroines seemed to be. Hades, the god of the Underworld, fell in love with Core and asked her father, Zeus, if he could marry her. Knowing that Demetra would never agree yet not wanting to anger Hades, Zeus says that he can't marry Core. Hades reads this as a "non-no" answer and decides that if he changes her name to Core, then Zeus' 'no' doesn't apply. So he takes Persephone to the Underworld.

Her mother, naturally, is worried when her daughter goes missing. When she discovers from Helios, the Greek god of the Sun who sees everything that goes on under the sun, that Hades now has Persephone as his wife, she is horrified. For a year, she uses her power over the world to bring drought and death to much of nature. Hades hears what is happening and when Zeus tells him that if the world above dies, so will his power, Hades relents to letting Demetra see her daughter and, perhaps, rescue her. However, there is a condition: If Persephone has eaten so much of a crumb in Hades' world, she can never return to the world above.

Unfortunately, though Demetra manages to be reunited with her daughter, it turns out that Persephone, during her year in Hades, ate a total of seven pomegranate seeds which, sadly, means she now belongs to Hades. Demetra ended up working out a deal with Hades so that Persephone got to spend nine months of the year with her mother and the other three months with Hades. Thus, it became that during the 3 months that Persephone spends with Hades, the earth dies for three months, thus giving us winter. When she comes back up to earth, Spring begins.

I love stories with endings like that because I'm not a scientist. I'm an imaginationist (yes, I made that word up). Thus, when I hear stories that explain nature and life, it makes me happy. I'd much rather believe that Spring is caused by the joy of a mother being reunited with her daughter than anything to do with the sun and earth's rotation. Now, whenever I see the first crocus, daffodil or forsythia, I will know that Demetra and Persephone have been reunited and Hades, once more, is alone for 9 months.

Happy Thursday.

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