Tiny Stories, Tiny Tales

Persephone and the Pear

 

abundance

 

The apples scattered from Persephone’s hands and rolled like burning rubies, tell-tale signs, through the greening grasses. This is what Demeter found and launched her into the frantic hunt for her lost daughter- or so I’d like to imagine.

I found the signs in the grass. In a tiny parcel of wild land, bound by a dentist’s parking lot on one side and a jeep car sales’ lot on the other, I found the signs of Persephone’s passing, sweet tiny apples tucked in the grass. Flies and hornets feasted, the hornets’ stingers vibrating in ecstasy over the sweetness. I picked a few apples that weren’t burst or bruised and tucked them into my pockets, taking the time to gaze up in the boughs. There weren’t any apples there; already the season is passing by, already we are beginning to count the days till spring.

I found pears too and delighted over their luscious shapes, hot women ready to be bitten into, chewed and swallowed. The trees are so out of place in this tarmac oasis but it was clear they were planted out of love long ago; after all you “plant pears for your heirs.”

The autumn solstice marks our descent into the winter- or the descent into hell if you’re a girl caught up by the god of the dead. The descent is slow and curving, marked by tremendous abundance where food litters the ground and trees shed their colors in a glorious shower. Everywhere, the wealth swirls by and catches our eyes and ears and hearts. It’s a tremendous pageant before winter’s austere coloring and as I click a few pictures of apples, I can’t help wonder at the beautiful story of a mother’s fierce love for her child. She tosses her love to us even now and we eat it up, apple by apple and pear by pear.

apple

 

Comments (2):

  1. Cindi Eaton

    September 24, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    I thought those names might have something to do with Greek mythology so I googled it 🙂 I don’t think I’ve read that one. But I find it fascinating how you come across these things that spur the imagination, a thought here and then another, and another adds on to it. From you noticing a simple apple where maybe no one else noticed. I enjoyed reading it, how you write. And wonder how it all came to you or maybe that’s too much to ask authors. But I sometimes wonder if there are others who’s train of thought happens like mine. So many times I will see something and know there is a story, or different stories, that are waiting to be told. The hard part is actually knowing how to share it I think. Thanks for sharing your creation with us, Catherine.

  2. Catherine

    September 29, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Thanks, Cindi. Sounds like it stirred up a lot of thoughts for you.

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The Taste of Tea

A favorite film of mine, The Taste of Tea, centers on an eccentric family living in the Japanese countryside. They spend a great deal of time sitting outside, sipping tea and staring into space. They sit as a family, alone, or in a small group and no one talks. They just stare out into the deep green that is the summer. And then they get up and go on walks or go off to work.

The first time I watched The Taste of Tea, I was shaken and delighted that the film gave space and respect to one of my favorite pastimes: sipping tea and staring into space.

When spring grew warm enough, I was inspired by the film to sit outside and stare into my backyard in the early morning. The Taste of Tea had given me a sort of permission to leave stress behind and take this time for one of my deepest desires: to enjoy and contemplate nature while sipping tea.

I named my new practice “Sipping Tea and Watching the Grass Grow.” I felt ridiculous whenever I mentioned it to anyone but that hardly mattered. I was doing what I loved so much, watching plants grow, watching the birds and small animals moving through it all, and sky glowing blue and serene over us all.

 

Grass grows slowly, imperceptibly but after each rain, it leaps up by inches. The violets came in May and they lasted for weeks. After that the dandelions bloomed and I lost a little bit of my heart to them. The wind picked up their seeds and sent the white fluffs floating into the air in sweet, downy clouds. After that, small wild strawberries, glowing like fierce red gems, appeared in the lawn. Now at the end of June, a luxurious, emerald green covers nearly everything. It reaches up from the ground, covering fences and stones or it high overhead, green leaves moving in tall, imperceptible breezes.

 

The heat has settled in so now even in the mornings, I pour sweat while drinking my tea. On some mornings the birds are noisy and busy and on other days they are not. Sometimes a great big bumblebee comes tumbling along, droning in that low, hazy buzz as it investigates every surface and flower. And then sometimes it does not come. Some days the clouds are like fluffs of cotton, other days there isn’t a cloud in sight. Each day brings a new configuration, nature is never still. I watch it all and at other times, I close my eyes and listen to my breathing. I’m not alone, never alone, a part of a whole.

A Tale of Two Worlds

I walk past a window on my way to get a glass of water and note the snow falling outside.  As I fill my glass at the sink, my thoughts have already turned back to my work on the computer. I’m wrestling with the household budget, when I’ll fit some reading in, how to get on with my writing work, when I’ll exercise, when I’ll catch up with email correspondence and the list goes on and on.

Anytime I stop my work and look up, past the chatter in my mind, the snow catches me off guard as if it’s the first time I’m seeing it. I debate whether I can put off the grocery store to avoid driving in the snow.

This is the world of the everyday. It’s full of a thousand petty cares, some essential to living, others not as much but all in a lump group, tugging us along.

But there are times my mind needs something more refreshing, and it’s time to take a break. And that’s where music comes in—as powerful as Circe creating a circle of magic with her staff. I pick out music without words (or words I don’t understand). Today is Rimsky-Korsakov, tomorrow might be the film Phantom Thread’s soundtrack, or a piece of jazz played by Lucky Thompson.

As Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden starts, the circle opens. I come out of the everyday world and enter somewhere extraordinary, where beauty converges with life and cares and worries exit for a time. And all it takes is a little music, a little snow, and entering the moment that is now.

I watch the snow falling, noting the wind direction as the snow blows southeast and then drops and then exhales again southwards. I note the density of the snow, how it’s light and sparkling and then downy, heavy, and wet.  My thoughts finally still and I turn off the music. A heavy relief passes over my body and mind and I am still, watching the beauty of the world.