I am fascinated by the people we become when we travel, whether it is a day trip to the beach or nine months in Mexico. There is freedom in discovering who we are in a new place.
I started reading myths and fairy tales about as soon as I could sound out the words. The goddesses were my favorite (no surprise there), and the heroines who changed their fates, but there was one that I just couldn’t understand at age eight or twelve or even twenty-six. I tried and tried and I couldn’t understand why Persephone would eat the pomegranate seeds. The daughter of a goddess had to know she was changing her fate, either that or she was the dumbest character ever written.
And then I lived. I grew up and I got married and got divorced. I traveled, moving first to the desert and then to New York City. I turned thirty-plus and one night, I understood. We all go to hell. Sometimes we choose the journey, more often we are pulled into the darkness kicking and screaming. And then. We emerge one day, changed. Broken, patched together, and, if we’re lucky and a little bit wise, stronger and more awake than we were before.
Persephone didn’t naively eat a handful of seeds. She wasn’t forced or coerced into staying, however violent her original transformation. The young girl became a queen in the darkness.
In the sunlight she dances, and as the leaves turn, she hears the whispers begin again and she walks into the earth, steadily. Maybe she follows the bread crumbs, or maybe she has learned to see in the darkness.