When I was little, my parents read Greek myths to my brother and I as bedtime stories. I suppose it all started because the myth of Persephone and Demeter was in one of the bedtime story anthologies we had as toddlers. Then one Christmas, when I was probably in first or second grade, we got D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths . We read and reread the book, drifting off to sleep with the ancient antics of Zeus, Hera, Athena, Jason and so many others, racing through our heads. In high school I took a mythology course, one thing lead to another, and an English major was born.
Greek myths did more for me than inspire a love of a literature and storytelling. Myths infused our daily lives as children. Our winter night stargazing were directly influenced by Greek mythology.
I've been thinking about Greek myths lately, maybe because it's been really cold lately, or maybe just because it's winter and the nights are long and the stars abundant:
For the record, 0F.L is not a real temperature. That just what the thermometer displays when it goes below -26 F. And it got down to -30F last night. As you can see, the new wood stove keeps thing plenty warm enough inside though.
Could it be all this watching the Mercury that's got my mind thinking about myths? (I realize that Mercury is the Roman messenger god, which deviates slightly from my Greek myth theme here, but nevertheless, it's Mercury who stuck in the thermometer, not Hermes.)
Despite the mild Arctic temps, Andy and I have been bundling up each night and heading out in the moonlight of the waxing moon. (And yet people laugh when I say I want to visit Antarctica . . . seriously, I could take it.) In the cold temperatures, the lake ice cracks and booms all night, as well as for a good portion of the day, as it expands. On these still, cold nights, the cabin's bay sometimes produces an echo and as we're out checking on the ice forming at night, our voices often come back to us, making my mind drifts to the myth of Narcissus and Echo.
The alarm clock went off at 3:30 and we stumbled into the living room to pull on boots, socks, mittens, coats, hats. In -30F weather, we stood on the frozen lake and looked west, to see watch the world traveling through a stream of debris: bright sparks shooting across the winter
This winter living in the woods: cold, dark, stark, and beautiful. And that at least, is not Greek to me.