This is a history of Persephone.
It is 1328 years before the common era and Persephone still remembers the marvelous thing.
She doesn’t know exactly what it was. Not any more. It was wooden and round, and it had a handle. It shimmered like rainbows, like soap bubbles. It shone.
It made a noise.
It was the most marvelous, incredible noise. It was like the bubbling happiness of the sea. It was crazy, mad, incredible, majestic, that noise.
There’s sunshine all around her now. She’s got grubby hands and there’s a bit of the dirt in her mouth, a little bit, just enough to taste. It tastes like life and also like ick, dirt!
She’s planting seeds with her friend Cyane and her mother Demeter.
She digs a hole. Just a little hole. She drops a seed in it. She covers the seed over.
“Covering things over,” she says, in the flawless ancient Greek spoken by ancient Greeks of the time, “makes them all chaotic.”
She can see that too. It’s like a gray fuzz. It’s like the tides of chaos flowing in.
It’s really not as adult a statement as it sounds, given the time and the place and the language and her history. It’s not that philosophical, to her.
It’s just the kind of thing young Persephone tends to think.
She knows object permanence by now. She knows the seed’s still there. But it’s covered over and that makes doubt. That’s the gray. That’s doubt, that’s mystery, that’s the uncertainty that’s flooded in over the seed. It could be anything now. It could grow into anything now. That’s how Persephone gardens: with love and warmth and a bit of green chaos.
The sun beats down on the earth. Helios is busy today, he’s in top form, he’s shining like there’s no tomorrow, when in fact there are at least 1,216,180 tomorrows left. That’s just how much he loves his job.
Under the pressure of that sunlight the earth splits apart. The seed rushes up. Now it’s a plant.
It’s a THISTLE.
“Huh,” says Persephone.
She looks at it left. She looks at it right. She reaches forward.
“Unh uh,” says Demeter.
Demeter stops her.
“Don’t touch that,” Demeter says. “I think it’s got teeth.”
The thistle snarls and bites at her with its teeth. This totally confirms Demeter’s suspicions.
“Wow,” Persephone says, totally taken.
She can see the echoes of that marvelous thing in the thistle. It’s like the wooden sphere and it’s like the soap bubbles and it’s bright and shiny-colored in the sun and she remembers the noise. Mom always says it wasn’t a very important noise but Persephone remembers.
“I’m going to tame it,” Persephone says.
Her eyes are bright. There’s wonder on her face. Her dress hangs to her knees and her hands are grubby and her hair is black and it is amazing how much Demeter loves her right then.
“It’s going to be the best flower ever.”
She feeds it a healthy diet of fruits and grains. She brushes its teeth twice a day. She even flosses when it lets her.
That thistle’s always going to love her.
Just like Demeter does.
It is 1317 years before the common era.
Demeter hears her daughter’s scream.
She hears it end.
She knows that Persephone is gone from the mortal realms.
She has gone below the earth and she is lost behind the gray.
And hope is dead.