Bored with loneliness on the island of my self-employed distance from the court life of Olympus and New Athens, I sent an invitation to Apollo asking Him to make some time and visit.
It is not a particularly short journey from my island in the Elysian Adriatic. Helios harnesses and discharges his horse three times during the voyage of a modern ship between her and Delphi. Apollo arrived within two days, riding alone in a solar powered hydroplane with two-bucket seats, a luggage compartment and a computer operated automatic pilot keyed into GPS coordinates. I could hear the notes of His electronic lyre before He appeared on the horizon. The boat slid onto the wite marble sand and He jumped onto the beach, the music repeating for a few bars in a synthesized time delay loop. Apollo was wearing running shoes, no socks, cutoffs, and a t-shirt with the words “BRITS OUT”
I chuckled in greeting. Apollo smiled in return, knowing how He has always amused me with His penchant for new toys and trendy styles. “The t-shirt is a gift from my wife Brizo, she now lives in Avalon and re-established herself as the patroness of political prisoners. She asked me to wear it when I’m around Zeus, it really pisses him off”
We reached the slopes of the high tide line, stopped , then turned to view the bay of and the coastline. “It’s a bit different now” I said, referring to the Earth. “The sea no longer has the clarity of our days and yet we are the ones who are, in a large part responsible for the change”
“I could have told you it was going to happen”, Apollo said. “It was built into the process”
“Why didn’t you?” I asked.
“Nobody asked, including you. Everyone was Hades bent for progress that excluded those questions. Besides, I knew I would be long gone before it happened”
As we climbed toward my cabin, He talked a bit about His work at Delphi. He was working on a computerized oracle program and He could use any memoirs He could drag out of the Pantheon. He turned toward me and said “You haven’t changed that much. In spite of your experiences you have always been rather countrified. I feel like a metropolitan boy visiting a backwoods uncle”
I looked at Him. Apollo the architect, the scientist, a composer and a God who sees into the future with more clarity than the rest of us. I could see that although we are approximately the same age I look like a barbarian alongside a young and very citified friend. I have always been envious of His remaining a youth while I slowly grew more aged in appearance.
I prepared a dinner of Onagur stuffed with garlic, made a salad of Peruvian vegetables and olive oil then set the table with goblets of nectar flavored with honey from the heather blossoms of Mt Parnassus. While eating I told Him I was having trouble with the memoirs He had requested. “I sometimes confuse the myth with the reality of the history”
“Remember the difference between a myth and a sailor’s tale? A myth begins with an invocation to the muse while a sailor’s tale begins ‘this is not Auroch shit’. Your problem is that you are a sailor trying to explain a myth”
Apollo warmed to the subject, I knew I had him going. “The point is we are dealing with time before academics. Academics snuffed the very primitive but necessary association with nature. Astrologers became fanciful fakes but their preliterate encyclopedic mnemonics of the stars charted the nighttime movement used by the astronomers. Their relationship to the sun and even the sap running in your ash trees provided a basis for academics and then relegated to a midden of cast off knowledge.
“True metaphysics was hand in hand with our understanding and worship of the process of the calendar. It kept us alive in the circle of the seasons. Once its purpose was no longer a requirement, it lived on as fodder for charlatans. Academics discount it and refuse to recognize their own roots. Blame Socrates, blame me, and blame Jehova. Cedar trees and Hyssop bushes served as references for wisdom to Solomon. So did the lapis and carnelian in his breastplate. They meant much more than just a bunch of pretty rocks, they served as a references in a primitive verbal encyclopedia. By the time Isaiah came along they were done with moon worship and the metaphors of nature. Like Socrates, they too were only interested in the minds of men.
I said “If I could just remember this conversation I’d include it in my work”
Apollo smiled and removed a jeweled pin crafted as a comet. “No problem, I’ve recorded our conversation in this device of Daedalus”
Some time later, He slid the hydroplane into the outgoing tide and climbed aboard. His musical rendition of “Two Thousand Light Years from Home” fading with the visual size of the craft then silence as He disappeared over the horizon.