Sunday, October 18, 2009

Demeter's Rampage

It's cold out there.  Early winter?  Snowing already in places that don't usually have it this early.  It is plenty cold out here and I have to make my way out to the car to bring in some sodas before I go to bed.  Too cold altogether to go out there.  Feels like December and it's only October.  Frost tonight -- lows in the 20s they say.  I didn't pick the last of the basil, and that's that.  It won't take the least bit of frost.

Why is it so cold so early?  Who knows.  Well, I think it's all Persephone's fault.  Why not?  It makes as much sense as anything.

One night Persephone was out picking narcissus with her girlfriends when out of the earth rose a fierce black horse pulling a chariot with a fierce dark rider who galloped up and rode away with her, disappearing back into the earth.  It was Hades, King of the Underworld.  Her friends ran to her mom, Demeter, and told her what had happened.  Her mom was sorely pissed.

She was so pissed that she froze the entire earth in a winter so deep nobody had ever seen such a thing.  She was, after all, the Earth Mother.  She invented cereal.  And the seasons.  And she wouldn't let up. She got her friend Hecate and they took torches and searched the entire earth, but Persephone was nowhere to be seen.  When she found out Hades' brother Zeus was in on the abduction, she was even madder and would absolutely not defrost anything until she got her daughter back.

Meanwhile, Persephone was not exactly hating being Queen of the Underworld. What teenage girl would hate being queen of something?  Today teen girls are smitten with vampires.  Persephone was actually Queen of the dead!  Still she knew if she ate anything while down there, she would be doomed to stay forever and she was not so sure she wanted to do that, exactly.  Always keep your options open. When Hermes showed up and told her that her mother was freaking completely out and the earth would die if she didn't return, she agreed to go back.  Not so fast, said Hades.  You must be famished, down here all this time without a bite to eat.  Won't you just have a few of these luscious pomegranate seeds?  She pretended to fall for it, but was very careful not to overdo it.  She just ate six, so she was only required to return for six months each year.

Nu, when Persephone is home with her mother, it's nice and warm and the crops grow and all is well, but when she's back with her lover Hades, Demeter freaks and everything goes cold and dark again and we get winter. And I freeze my tuchas going out to the car to get the sodas. 

What, you think it has something to do with the earth's orbit and rotation and the position of the jet stream?  Well, have it your way.  I like the Persephone story better.  Have a Pomegranate?

Persephone painting: Kris Waldherr

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