Still adjusting to the new job and putting in lots of overtime. Not sure when I will get back to posting regularly but I have decided to share an older story about Gods and Whimsy that I hope keeps you entertained.
Wine and Whirlwinds
by Robert Garbin
A cool evening breeze stirred the forest outside the small Grecian village as the sun sank below the horizon. Apollo’s fiery orb pried one last minor fissure through the gathering storm clouds in warning to the simple denizens of the village. A peaceful ambiance filled the gray evening air like the calm just before a major tempest. Nearby, the sea was turning rough as plumes of spray rose above rocky shoreline and the creatures of the deep sought refuge from the forces of nature.
Far out to sea, the first bolt of lightning struck downwards and illuminated the world in electric blue fury. The sea surged as bolt after bolt slashed the blackened sky and thunder shook the ground like an earthquake. The villagers had taken shelter when the dark clouds first appeared on the horizon, knowing from past experience that such storms were not to be provoked. All livestock had been quickly bedded down and all carts and boats secured. Now they huddled in their dwellings praying to whatever God was their patron.
Soon the winds increased. Trees twisted and swayed like kelp at the bottom of the sea. A searing bolt of lightning struck a white poplar on the edge of the forest cleaving it in two with the halves falling neatly to either side. Against all odds, blazing blue tendrils of electricity reached down to strike the same tree two more times. Pelicans hunkered down in sheltered alcoves along the rocky coastline while a family of boars sought protection in a thicket of thorn bushes. Rain began to fall. Fat, cold droplets were thrashed about the countryside by winds that howled through every thicket and valley, shaking the walls of the village huts. Candles went out as wind and rain exploited every chink and crack. Shivering in darkness, the families huddled together for comfort and support during the long stormy night.
Wind also stirred up debris that clattered against the buildings and tore at the fragile petals of tulips, primroses, and violets. Another flash of lightning struck the ground near a tree with an owl’s nest. The startled owl took flight and was instantly hurled about by the savage gale force winds until it was smashed against the trunk of a spearheaded cypress. Soon sodden earth gave way and mud slid down the slopes of valleys and hills. The small village escaped the worst of the earthen flow, but many a citizen would be digging out for days to come.
Waves thrashed the shoreline filling the air with a thick mist that was illuminated by the barrage of lightning bolts. Fishing boats were tossed about like driftwood. Several vessels became lodged among rock outcroppings high on the craggy shoreline while sharp boulders splintered others. Late into the night the seas and sky churned with unabated fury. Trees, rocks, and earth collapsed under the relentless forces of nature, which attacked the world with a vengeance not unlike the forces of chaos. Slowly as the sky began to lighten, the winds started to lose their strength and the seas became calmer. Then clouds shredded as the first rays of dawn gilded them in crimson and gold. The rain turned to drizzle and then stopped.
The fiery orb of Apollo shone over the devastated lands. Under the rising sun, the villagers first looked at the wrath of the storm and then began the long process of restoring order to their lives. Damaged roofs had to be cleared away along with drying mud. Animal pens needed repaired and the beasts needed temporary fodder until fresh supplies could be gathered. Only a small part of the destruction had been repaired as Apollo sunk low on the horizon.
With a weary aspect, Apollo rode his winged tripod back to Olympus and the halls of the gods. As he entered the throne room of Zeus, he nearly slipped upon one of hundreds of empty bottles of wine covering the floor. His sister Artemis smiled wickedly as she paused on her way to her designated task as Goddess of the Moon. “Athena was quite put out with father this morning for killing one of her precious owls!” she said, a mischievous grin barely hidden. Apollo smiled back as he looked into the room.
Zeus lay upon his throne with one leg hanging over an arm of the marble seat. His golden crown riding low upon is brow. Poseidon and Hades sat on the steps of the throne’s dais; a game of dice with small statues of men toppled between them. Lying in the center of the hall with most of the bottles, Dionysus let out a contented burp and smiled blearily at Apollo. At the remains of a huge table of feasting curled up among the carcasses stripped bare by the Gods, Hestia slept soundly.
“You know father, you left quite a mess down there. I don’t know how many more Godly parties man can survive.” Apollo said with a lopsided smile.
Zeus started then brought his focus around to Apollo. “Does them good! Gives them challenges. By the way did you see that Popular tree I spliced open with a lightning bolt?”
Apollo grinned. “Who lost the bet this time?
Poseidon stirred; he opened his eyes and gave a knowing wink to Apollo. Everyone knew that Zeus loved to show off at parties so each of the lesser Gods would take turns losing bets to the king in order to keep him happy. Most of the bets usually involved some beautiful mortal woman. Slowly, as the other Gods awakened, stories of the party’s revelries were passed around. Down on earth, human families slept soundly under the moonlit night of Artemis, exhausted from a day of cleaning up after the Gods. Not one of them thought to curse their patron deities.