After a few false starts in April, spring is finally here. Every year, since I moved to the East Coast I cannot help but be reminded of the story of Persephone and the pomegranates. As the tale goes Persephone was kidnapped by the God of the underworld. Her mother Demeter, the mother Goddess, could not bear to be separated from her daughter, and so she quit doing whatever it is that goddesses do to bring life, and abundance to Earth. After a while, some of the other gods began to worry that humanity would perish if they didn’t do something about it, so Zeus–who witnessed the whole kidnapping thing–told Demeter about that Hades did it, but the God of the underworld refused to let Persephone out of his realm. Eventually, when Persephone was allowed to leave, she ate a pomegranate seed, and, of course, anybody who eats anything from the underworld has to stay there for eternity, however, being that Demeter had some influence with Mount Olympus, her daughter was allowedto leave for the first half of the year, which is why we have spring and summer, but also have to put up with fall, and winter.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I miss Persephone when she is not around. Having lived the first part of my life in Mexico City, and the second one in California, I found it difficult to adapt to the winters of the East Coast. I actually had never seen snow before, so seasonal affective disorder had a blast in my brain. This was the first year I actually managed to deal. It wasn’t that I was happy without Persephone, but I didn’t miss her as much. I discovered that a healthy dose of exercise, friendships, books, green tea, and the occasional glass of red wine made the season a little more enjoyable. Of course not having her around always made me idealize her. I thought about her warmth, and the way in which the soft winds of spring surrounded me, as I hiked through the many public parks in my area. She became like the goddess that is her mother.
Needless to say, when she returns I’m all smiles, and lay outside surrounded by her warm embrace. I look forward to her reign, as if it was the return of a long, lost lover. At first things are great! But towards the middle of the summer, she starts to annoy me. The constant heat and humidity surround me and make me wish that it was winter again. When she leaves again I am almost grateful.
In the story, when Demeter is at her darkest and about to give up on the search for her daughter, a Greek maiden with a sense of humor, makes a joke that brings laughter to the goddess, and it is through her laughter that she manages to free herself from the depression that has almost made her give up. I suppose that the irony of the seasons kept me together this time around. I found comfort in friendship, and books, and exercise, and tea, and family. Like many myths, this story is not just about the changing of the seasons, but about the changing of the heart, and about how we must learn to deal with life regardless of what it brings, because we get easily used to things. Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter, we all must learn to find comfort in what we have, because if we learn to remain constant, diligent and aligned to our principles when things are good, maybe we will have the flexibility to sustain the when they are not so good. Let’s face it, we all lose our way, sometimes. We all bemoan the tragedy of our lives when things are good, so maybe we can learn from the myth, and laugh a little when things are bad. The things that matter are important regardless of seasonality.