Athena’s blessed endeavors


Eva Harshman

Lexi, aka Athena, who is my inspiration for this column and my partner for this show season.

Ephemeral, warm summer winds, constant for only the blink of an eye, somersault and cartwheel through the otherwise rigid air, being the sweet exhale of the oxygen so long held in for the winter. 

It is a cascade of euphoria I gain nowhere else; suddenly, my brain is a sponge for serotonin. Gently caressing my face from the three-foot altitude, the breeze is just constrained from being abrasive and overwhelming. Its control is like any other, yet its power is only exercised upon itself.

Down below stands the sweetest iced tea of the season—dewdrops of condensation add a glistening sheen without leaving a ring of liquid remaining on the surface. It undulates with every movement and ripples with every gust but not once does it overflow. Each time it nears the lip of the glass, the tip of the drink pulls back into its container. 

As the sun at its nearest radiates its comforting rays, the ice cubes in the glass slowly begin to melt away, but it is not the summer that is leaving. Rather, it is the morning trot, the noontime canter, and the early evening jump. As the day fades to an oil painting on a fast-drying canvas, the cooldown walk begins. Yet, there is still the spark—the blessing from the sun. 

Apollo collapses into his throne after such an ordeal; his immortal body is exhausted in a corporeal manner from heavy-lifting the central star. He hands the reins of his chariot to Athena, and she grasps them in her powerful yet wise grip.

I hold the other end of the leather; it’s a wonder. It’s a wonder that the goddess of wisdom doesn’t lurch away from me with a single step and hurl me to Athens. I can see Sparta at a distance, and I keep a thought towards this as a scroll in my right hand.

The message remains in my grasp as each city is concerned with affairs of its own whilst a watchful eye is gazing about. Vision becomes reduced by the second as the ink begins to stain the canvas from the bump of an arm of being in Olympus. 

Astraea skips across the galaxy above, sprinkling stars over our heads as we sip our diluted sweet summer tea.”

Astraea skips across the galaxy above, sprinkling stars over our heads as we sip our diluted, sweet summer tea. Dustings fall from her satchel and swirl among citrus slices, adding a tang to our drinks. 

Selene finally dances across the endless heavens, using the stars as stepping stones. She glides through the sky, slicing a slit in the night with a crescent moon. I marvel at the sight, my eyes nearly as round as each crater on the face of the orb. 

It’s an everyday extravaganza for Athena; she stands up straighter before departing with one silent yet impactful leap. I’m left in her wake with my hair finally settling after the excitement of her gust. I’m left wistful and longing for her to return, but I mustn’t be greedy—I am lucky enough to spend the warmest days in her presence. 

I finish off the last of my tea, only leaving the minuscule fragments of herbs at the bottom of the crystal glass. I lay back and close my eyes, sinking into the soft soil beneath the comforting carpet of the grasses. The coolness wraps its arms around me in an embrace, and at last, as Athena returns to Olympus, Apollo rises from his throne to start the day anew.