Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Castalian Spring at Delphi

“You say these Naiads are the offspring of a god.  That makes them some kind of spirits, right?  Just another loony Greek myth.”
            “A very old myth,” Dan said.  “Much older than the Greeks.  Springs have always had their resident divinities.”
            This was certainly understandable, I thought.  Cold, thirst-quenching, life-giving water sprouting like a miracle from the dry, rocky earth—what god-fearing goatherd wouldn’t see that as divine?
            Somewhere an owl softly hooted.
            With her arms propped at the water’s edge, Phoebe lowered her face toward the surface of the spring.  She took a short drink, noisily sucking the water.  Then she raised her dripping face and for a long moment stared unblinking at the pond.
            I stopped what I was doing.  Dan remained silent.  Had she seen something there, hidden in the spring, or was she caught by her own reflection?  We watched her and waited, and neither of us spoke.  There was something magical about her, kneeling by this primeval pool in the dark.  Her pale arms and face, ghostly in the starlight, reflected on the undulating mirror of the pond.  An aura of stillness surrounded her.  Along with the unceasing trickle of the spring, we could hear the sporadic flutter of wings echo off the rocky walls above us.  The place was suffused with an atmosphere of timelessness, with Phoebe the beating heart of it, as if she were some living token of its past.

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