Saturday, May 4, 2013

Picture Postcard #7 - Unto the Goddess



At midsummer, the island earth bakes beneath Helios’ gaze. Insects whirr, peasants retreat to their hovels and animals laze in orchard shade.

Hues of green, brown and ochre blanket the fertile valley from salt sea to rocky peak. Splashes of yellow and orange, purple and red abound amid tangles of ivy and grape vine.

As the fiery sun at last dips into the western waves, a hush falls over all, a sigh to melt troubled limbs and sorry spirits. Crickets join the chorus and the lady Selene rises silver and full.

When the fire within the temple kindles, it is time.

At the edge of a grove, a young satyr sits on a moss-covered rock. His eyes take in the moon, the valley and the temple before he closes them and raises his reed pipe to his lips.

The music is soft and sweet as the dew that gathers upon the ground about his hooves. Night comes on and the constellations wink.

From all directions comes laughter like crystal water, the voices of Nymphs, Naiads and Dryads come to frolic beneath the full moon and pay homage to their lady. They skip and dance and twirl, barefoot upon the dewy grass with crowns of flowers in their long-flowing hair.

More satyrs come, jumping with excitement, mischievous grins beneath craggy brows topped with ivy and grape vines. They crash onto the scene to embrace the spirits of wood, field, grove and stream.

Cries of delight and jollity lift into the sky and they all spin and laugh and lift olive wood cups brimming with wine to their lips.

Cornucopia overflow with the fruits of the land and baskets of bread, tenderly made of the goddess’ grain, pass among the throng.

Then the centaurs come down out of the mountains, dark and lean and warlike. But this night, their cudgels lay at home. They come to celebrate, to shake the earth with their rhythmic dance - war made merry.

The torches are burning bright and the music reaches a fevered crescendo as flute, tambourine, aulos, systrum and drum rise and fall with the voices of all. Faster and faster the gathered whirl and laugh and jump and roll…

Until it all stops.

Upon the road, lit by moonlight, approach the Kouros and Kore. They are young and beautiful and loving, new blossoms to the world about them.

The gathering parts for them, a sea of smiles and admiration as they approach the temple where offerings pile high against the walls. Before the door, a throne is set and the Kouros and Kore kneel before it.

All sound goes out of the world as the goddess steps out of her house, her bare feet soft upon the marble step, barely touching the blades of grass beneath her as she steps down.

Demetra.

All know her here, love her. And she loves them, and gives to them.

The goddess’ white robes flow about her like a clinging mist and her wheat-gold hair falls in perfect strands down the length of her back. Her head is high and proud, and the stars spin in her sky-blue eyes.

A hand upon the cheek of the Kouros and Kore welcomes youth to the gathering and all bow before the goddess as she sits with the youths to either side.

The goddess smiles and laughs, a sound to lift the hearts and spirits of all. She nods and the revels explode once more in the midsummer night.

There is yet time before the dawn and the heat of day, for song and dance, for laughter and love.
Demetra smiles and all is well with the world…


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