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[The following is excerpted from the book "Apollo & Me" by Cate Montana.]
Details of the ritual swam in and out of focus. But I didn’t think much about it. It was too much effort. The doings and concerns of my former life seemed equally vague and unimportant.
My entire world centered around relearning how to use my body—just me, nobody else. And each new thing I accomplished, walking to the door and sitting on the bench outside, seeing a bird soar against the blue sky, hearing the frogs chirping in the valley below the cabin at night, feeling the sun warm on my face, was unbearably important and precious.
How was it possible I’d taken such things for granted before?
Time passed. And then, nine days after the ritual, Kalista brought me my backpack. I sat in the sun on the bench outside, pawing through the contents like a monkey examining a hotel bill. What were these things and why were they important? It wasn’t until I discovered Spiros’ car keys that a bell rang . . . my summons back to Earth.
Or perhaps my summons away.
I looked at the little pieces of pressed metal in my hand, suddenly grasping their significance. Spiros knew nothing of where I was or where his car was. I hauled out my cell phone and tried turning it on. Nothing.
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Kalista came and stood in the doorway, watching me. I looked up at her, useless phone in one hand, keys in the other, all the questions I hadn’t remembered until now to ask, questions I couldn’t ask her because of the language barrier, bubbling to the surface.
Making soft clucking noises, shaking her head, she plucked the phone out of my hand, dropping it disdainfully back in the pack, her action and thoughts as clear as day. What use are these dead things when you know so much of LIFE now, eh, little one?
And suddenly the two realities—my regular life and my life with Apollo and the staggering forces I’d worked with in the circle—collided with a shock that sent me reeling as I fully grasped the profane shallowness of my previous modern existence. And with the realization came a sudden overwhelming sense of loss.
Not the loss of Apollo . . . never Apollo. He was with me and in me . . . now and forever as much as breath filled my lungs and water filled the seas. No, it was the terrible loss of my ignorance that suddenly arose like a foul specter before me. I shrank away, physically squirming against the rough log wall, feeling a splinter drive into my shoulder blade. And I welcomed the small sharp pain because it was real and feeling it meant I was gloriously alive. The metal points of the car keys bit into my flesh as well.
How could I possibly go back? What was there to go back to? I lived in a harsh grey world filled with— what had Polymnia called us?—dead machine-people mucking around in self-important lives, thinking we knew what life was about when all the while we knew absolutely nothing.
Oh sure, science was giving us a powerful lens into the mysteries of existence. But almost no one was paying any attention. I groaned and closed my eyes, willing the whole mess to go away! Wishing the great Earth Mother would rise up and take me back home into Her bosom where I could dwell in the full light of darkness and never have to deal with anything in my old world ever again.
Wilting against the front wall of the cabin, I turned to Kalista’s black form and wept into the solidness of her hip, clinging to her skirts, wailing in sorrow for myself and all the people living out their tired, uninspired lives—women, men and little children who would never be given the slightest chance to glimpse the raw, shattering power of existence they really embodied.
And as I wept in that moment of terrible understanding I finally grasped why Apollo had been so willing to sacrifice himself. What difference could it possibly make to a Deathless One to die, knowing the difference their actions might make?
I laughed and sobbed and shook until Kalista bodily plucked me off the bench, ushering me back inside, closing the cabin door, leaving my backpack on the ground outside in the sun.
It was a long, slow hour’s walk, but the next morning found me sitting on the hill above the temple outside the archaeological site boundary fence where Apollo and I first met, enjoying an unobstructed view of the stadium and tourist-packed precinct below.
Steady warm breezes blew in off the Sea of Corinth, combing the early summer grasses. Somewhere close by a cuckoo was doing its famous song. And I lay back in the grass and warm sun, watching the seed heads wave in the wind overhead, feeling life come full circle.
As much as I wanted to stay at the cabin and live out the rest of my days as Kalista had lived hers, holding on to the torch of her knowledge, I knew I couldn’t do it. I knew too much and cared too much about my world to not do everything I could to help it waken from its slumber.
Apollo had worked against the forces of time itself to jolt me from sleep. I couldn’t pass the buck. Who was it said, “With great knowledge comes great responsibility?” Surely someone?
Swallows darted through the air, swooping hapless bugs and mosquitos into their beaks, glad for the nourishment they could take back to their babies squawking at home in their tiny feathered nests. Life feeding life. And suddenly the soundtrack from the movie The Lion King swelled dramatically in my head and I laughed. What was that line Apollo had quoted?
“Life is far too important to be taken seriously.”
I could hear his voice now and I chuckled, eyes closed, imagining he was sitting next to me on the hillside, his brown fingers stripping the fuzzy layer off a stalk of grass, telling me some astounding thing or other.
When all of sudden I had a thought.
What if I simply told Apollo’s story like it happened?
I sat up abruptly.
What if I described how he bounded over the rocks towards me wearing those stylishly ripped jeans of his and that earth-shattering smile? How he sat down next to me, invading my space, poised to blow my world apart?
I closed my eyes again for a moment, feeling him sit down beside me. Watched him reach into his pocket for a piece of gum. Then I opened my eyes on the empty meadow and the sweeping valley view.
Who cared if nobody believed it? The point was in the telling. That was my promise. No more.
Sitting in the sun, remembering the story as it had unfolded, a smile touched my heart and my lips. When out of seeming nowhere a crow suddenly tore the skies apart, landing on a rock not two feet away with a thunderous triumphant CAW!!
My spirits rose as the bird cocked its head from side to side, bright beady eyes gazing intently into mine. CAW!!!! And I laughed, remembering Apollo’s promise to send me a sign if all was well.
I leaned close to Apollo’s messenger and whispered, “Tell him to travel well. And that I can wait as long as it takes to see him again.”
And watched as the bird turned and flew away.
Copyright 2019 by Cate Montana.
Apollo & Me
by Cate Montana
Across-time tale of deathless love, magic and sexual healing, Apollo & Me explodes the myths around older women and sex, the relationship between the gods and man, man and woman, and the very nature of the world itself.
About the Author
Cate Montana has a master’s degree in psychology and has given up writing non-fiction articles and books about consciousness, quantum physics, and evolution. She is now a novelist and story teller, blending head and heart in her first teaching tale, the spiritual romance Apollo & Me, available at Amazon.com! Visit her website at www.catemontana.com