Thursday, February 7, 2008
I Heart Apollo
This week in Mythology, we've been talking about my favorite Olympian, Apollo. I swear by the river Styx the following story is true.
Twelve years ago now, I made my first trip to Delphi. I've known about Apollo and Delphi since I was eight, so going there as a daytrip from Athens was more or less a pilgrimage. I opted to go alone via regular bus rather than do a group tour. Communing with the gods is not a matter for a group tour.
I arrive at the site just after 10 in the morning, a crisp November morning. I'm dazzled, I'm taking pictures left and right, nobody's around but me. I stop to take a break in front of the Athenian Treasury, when a stray cat jumps into my lap and demands a snack. I have no snack, but I have petting fingers, and kitty is happy. Suddenly, I hear a noise up the Sacred Way, and I look into the sun to find a man walking towards me: tall, gorgeous, blond hair cascading over his shoulders, shirtless, wearing sunglasses, jeans, and cowboy boots. No backpack, no camera to show he's a mere mortal. It's Apollo, stepped off a pedestal and into a pair of Levi's.
"Hi!" he says cheerfully. "Looks like you found a friend!" Yep, Apollo speaks English, and with a Southern-American accent like mine, no less. He sits next to me as I blurt out, "Uh, I like cats" and the cat jumps from my lap to his. (Smart girl.) Couldn't tell you how the conversation went after that except I remember he asked where else I'd traveled, and when I said Rome, he replied, "Rome's great! But I haven't been there in years." Not since the 4th century AD when they closed your temples, huh? I wanted to say. "Well, I've gotta go," he finally said and stood up to continue down the Sacred Way, coquettish cat trotting behind.
Dang, I think, why didn't I ask for something like the gift of prophecy when I had the chance. Or -- stupid, stupid, stupid -- a PICTURE???!!!!!