By James Egerton
I met Persephone in the woods one day. She stood barefoot on the moss of a small clearing, eyes closed and serene, capturing the warmth of the morning sunlight.
I didn’t have to signal my presence, she already knew. The flowers had told her and I knew better than to try and trick a goddess. Turning towards me, her eyes drifted open and settled on my form. All it took was a moment's gaze for her to understand, for her to empathize with my longing disposition. A kind smile came across her face and she tenderly lifted a gentle hand towards me, shortening the world between us.
My legs left my thoughts behind and I felt the cold dirt turn to cushioned moss beneath my feet. As the distance between us shrank further I saw her change. Her lips were painted, but so was the chin dripping with berry juice. The curls of her hair were tangled with roots and feathers. The enchanting verdant dress she wore had been splotched and stained by hours of roaming about the undergrowth. I had seen her transform into the picture of youth and by the time I faced her, with a butterfly’s wing between us, we stood together as sisters.
She sat and I followed. Together, on the lush velvet of the earth, we felt the woods brim with new life. It was spring and she was home. She had arisen from the cracked winter earth and with her she brought a pitcher of blossom, which had now been poured upon the trees. The arms of nature had been dipped in the cold bleakness of winter and now emerged, adorned with the vernal ribbons of spring.
She sat and I followed. Together, on the lush velvet of the earth, we felt the woods brim with new life. It was spring and she was home. She had arisen from the cracked winter earth and with her, she brought a pitcher of blossom, which had now been poured upon the trees. The arms of nature had been dipped in the cold bleakness of winter and now emerged, adorned with the vernal ribbons of spring.
She told me her story - you know the one, we’ve all been taught it - but I listened as if I were a child again. The words fell from her lips like petals in a summer wind. I felt my ears being caressed by the divine murmuring of such a familiar story. My head, now heavy with her golden voice, sank into the goddess’ lap and I felt her hands, soft and earthen, rest in my hair. She pulled her fingers through my locks and began to sing. Her voice was full as the warm ground, ready for planting and her honey hymn lulled me into a deep, soulful slumber. The flowers she planted spread to my chest and encased my heart in a botanical chrysalis.
I was awakened by the mellow warmth of sunlight and tasted nectar on my lips. As I stretched out my arms, as is customary for the well-rested, I discovered them to be replaced by a beautiful set of patterned wings. In the morning sunlight, the iridescent scales shimmered like fairy dust as I wavered them cautiously. Then I felt her inside of me. The bloom of Persephone’s springtide youth coursed through my body and spread across my pristine wings. Instinctively they fluttered and lifted me into the air, and, full of newfound vitality, I flew into the woods, ready for a new life.