…Otherwise known as the Autumn Equinox…
Today is that day of the year which for most people signals the beginning of fall (unless you live in Texas where it means there’s probably only another month of torturous heat in store.) In honor of the occasion, first a mythic story, and then a microfiction of my reimagining of said event.
Heading for the Misty Realms of Darkness
He [Zeus] assented that your daughter, every time the season comes round,Homeric Hymn to demeter
would spend a third portion of the year in the realms of dark mist underneath, and the other two thirds in your company and that of the other immortals.
He has assented to all this with the nod of his head.
So come, my child! Obey! Do not be too stubborn in your anger at the dark-clouded son of Kronos. Straightaway make the harvest grow, that life-bringer for humans.”
So she spoke, and Demeter, she with the beautiful garlands in her hair, did not disobey.
Straightaway she sent up the harvest from the land with its rich clods of earth.
And all the wide earth with leaves and blossoms was laden.
Poor Persephone. All she wanted to do was sniff the flowers. But Hades had other plans for her. And so he intoxicated her with the smell of narcissus, then dragged her down to the underworld with him. Persephone definitely needs her #metoo moment.
Persephone’s mother, Demeter, was distraught at losing her daughter. Demeter, who is in charge of providing crops to us poor sad sops called humans, was so upset over the theft of Persephone that she stopped growing crops and went on a tear around the world and even up to the clouds where Zeus and his ilk reveled. She demanded the return of sweet Persephone or nobody would be eating anytime soon.
Trouble for both Gods and mortals, it seems.
So Zeus told Hades to behave, and Hades said, sure bro, no problem. But before he sent Persephone back to her grieving mother and put an end to the death of the crops, Hades pulled a mean trick and gave Persephone pomegranates from the underworld. So now every year for three months poor Persephone must return to the underworld and her unchosen lover, so that we all might have pumpkin spiced lattes and bonfires. Or so the crops can lie fallow, your choice.
And now, a microfiction, my reimagining of part of the story. Enjoy!
“What are you looking at?” The stranger asks.
She barely notices him until his knees hit the dirt beside her. Once she looks, she can’t look away. Clouds skitter over his pupils, the only sign of that internal darkness pulsing within.
“I hear they smell exceedingly sweet.”
She bends her head, firmly under his suggestion, already lost, sniffing deep the yellow petals. Is it his eyes? The scent?
No matter. What’s done is done.
Flower abandoned, an eternal cycle is set in motion, the barren world once again awaits the pomegranate daughter’s return.
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