A tale from the base of Olympus – Part Eleven

This is a continuation of earlier posts. Context is found in previous parts.

I am crunching through the grass, frost leaving the toes of my shoes damp. Crisp grass, cold morn, frozen nose … I have always been a child of the summer, but these winter morns bring the kind of still, isolated peace that I may enjoy alone whilst others bury themselves deep beneath the covers of their beds.

Temperatures are so much more extreme here in Away & Beyond. The blistering heat of the sun when Apollo drives his chariot close is balanced by a frigidity I’ve not known since my very earliest days. And between the two, the heat and the cold, were the rows of small pink blossoms, picked for my mother as I meandered across paths that just a few months earlier had been white with ice, a few months later would burn my soles.

There are echoes of childhood, though this is not home. This foreign place to which I was dragged by necessity I must grudgingly acknowledge has beauty; beauty perhaps not as spectacular as my Alexandria, but beauty nonetheless.

In my Alexandria, I see the grass grows, the flowers bloom, the trees lose auburn and yellow leaves. The light-keeper’s house has been rebuilt, but it’s tendant has changed, he who once was the keeper having left after the cataclysm that caused such devastation. The people have changed, many having left, others planning to do so, but the most important, my Great Library, remains. I may still sit within the deepest expanse of papyrus and parchment. I look around me and know that no matter where I may be, these sheets and rolls will go with me; a library is not the structure, but the content.

I have brought the simplest opening sheets of one manuscript back form the last return to my Alexandria. The sensation of the pages, the smell of the oils burned in the Library to purify the air and wake the mind alert waft from the silk wrapping protecting the edges of the sheets. This is my precious Library, visiting me in Away & Beyond, a tantalizing mirage. I hold the precious pieces in my mind, gently caressing their soft surface and my will is sated, just a little, in the knowing that the preciousness is at my fingertips.

A little while, and I know I will let her go. A little while, and I will walk away from the lighthouse, its keeper and the veneer over brokenness.

What is a dream lived? A wish granted, a joy beheld, a blessing given.

What happens when a blessing is challenged by another dream, when it is perhaps at odds? The gods are acknowledged for the gift granted and that new, now more precious dream is cradled gently with both hands and pursued with the ardour of a lover possessed, until that sweet fresh dream outweighs what once was treasured, taking the place of that most valued and profound desire. We take nothing with us when we die other than memories. In the soup that is the collected mess of minds when hence we all shall go, those memories will all be drawn to us and bring to each the precious and the paltry, the bitter and the sweet. I know, from here in this less foreign plain Away and Far Beyond that memories will sustain my mind once the dreams are gone.

I take my staff and bind it to the next; soon the next will join it and I’ll start to bend. I’ll bind them all ’til ten in all are wound within the ropes of mine own soul. And in my cart laid flat and dry at the base will be the sheets and rolls that fill my mind’s ever seeking heart. The Great Library goes, sent forward first, so it is safe and free from damage from the seeping ruin that this damaged world now sees. My Alexandria was a dream and I held her close for a while. Now I shed the shell of my heart and slide into a new skin, a mercy from Aesclepius that eases the restriction of this unfamiliar new being. Alexandria, that place of my own making, may be built again better, sweeter … perhaps it will be better left to Chronos …

I’ll take the Great Library, thankful for the salvage that is mine that is so much more precious than the structure that has been the shell of my Alexandria. Pretty, she will remain, even her progressing ruins; but my Alexandria is becoming less mine than that of others with a different view after Atlas’ great twitch.

Tomorrow, I shall go speak with Tyche. Long have I remained without a city’s walls, but a wall I will still seek someplace else … there will be another someday; a clean, undamaged place to start again; a place of privacy and peace, where I may read and think and drink in the comfort of the Great Library with all its vast tales. With Tyche, I will place that which I value most, seeking protection, whilst Athena I will thank for her guidance.  My wagon will be laden once again, this time, with the pieces I left behind with the custodians in my Alexandria. One more trip will I make to my precious home, one more trip I will make … to leave one last time.

This tale is still evolving even as the words are committed to paper. Each post is likely to be a chaplet (a dedication or prayer) in itself. You are free to share this journey with me, even as I know not where it will end.
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