A tale from the base of Olympus – Part Thirteen

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

Pink and white blossoms are erupting from the trees heralding the return of Persephone in this Away & Beyond. Soon, the fields of yellow canola and golden grains will ripen under Demeter’s grace and all will feast. I look south to the towering form of Vesuvius and thank the gods that my childhood home will know another season of spring.

I welcome the warmer days, the blue skies, but I feel old. This Away & Beyond has been both my hardship and my redemption. I look at my hands and see lines, the skin dry as paper. Where went the supple form that once chased beauty? Ah, but she was in hibernation even when I came to the wide plains of Away & Beyond. I came here to work, to build a new life, to be closer to Pompeii. And work I did, through flood and wind among the unexpected kindness of a people less cynical than this weather-worn form.

The seasons turn. The ground, crisped by another winter’s frosts softens as the early spring rains prepare for the bounty, a bounty I took for granted from Alexandria.  I know that in but a few turns of Selene’s pearlescence we all will feast on luscious fruit and filling grains. And I, back in my Alexandria, will be unable to eat anything without remembering from whence it has come.

Irony has crossed my path too many times in this life. Her form has become as familiar to me as that of my cherished Great Library, perhaps more so. Be careful what you wish for, she warns, but we never do. So I wished, many years ago, for many things. And as I look back, I see that most of those wishes have come in stages and fashions, granted by people and gods I could not have foreseen. Wish not with careless abandon, but with a thought to how the Moirae will spin your fate, for they may give, but also take through force of choice. Not all dreams can be held at once.

I am preparing to leave this Away & Beyond, where I was beginning to move within the city walls. I had not expected Clotho and Lachesis to measure the thread of my life thus. I feel tricked and yet I cannot be angry, for they gave my heart’s desires. Would that those desires, wished decades apart, were not forced to be lived in isolation of each other.

And so I return to Alexandria. My rickety wagon will be laden one last time with not only what I brought, but mementoes of this Away & Beyond. She never asked of me more than I could give and for that gentle kindness I gave her my best, working from my soul the blames of transgressions past and salving the burns of bigotry. Yes, she has been my hardship, this Away & Beyond, in all her unexpected challenges spread over this wide open plain. But she has also been my most welcomed redemption, by whose side I have tilled and built.

Momus laughs. The inconvenient truth of hopes unmasked and dreams barely lived melds with Gaia’s binding humanity. Surely the god of blame knows what the Moirae have spun and measured for me … and yet, there he sits on some stump of broad gum mocking my choice and split dreams. I will ignore him and trust instead to Aesclepius and his daughters once again for they have never shown me wrong.

Unexpected sadness. These broad plains ignored by senators in crisp white togas living in the opulence of Roman halls have somehow filled a void in my heart that I did not know existed. Not until the moment of parting do we know what we lose … the gods have indeed been perverse with this piece in their game.

And so I leave this small town for the conveniences of Alexandria once again, knowing what I leave, thankful for the gifts, even if they are not mine to take. I must leave them for some other soul seeking its own truth at the base of her own Olympus. I hope that they too learn what beauty lies in the simplicity of this Away & Beyond. If only I could take it all with me …

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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