Sunday, June 5, 2011

Merope of the Pleiades

In 2001, I was driving around a Pontiac Grand Prix. They had some electrical problems, but overall a good craft... mine had one quality I learned to love in high school~ a red fabric interior. I know, red is abrasive and agitating, and the color of this or that unpleasant thing, but all that is only during the day. At night, the red interior of an old GP brings an ineffable comfort that other colors fail to. I kept a pillow in the back seat, and I swear to you I did this for no other reason than to amplify the deep mood of driving in a maroon GP at night.
One warm evening in late summer, Andrew and Dax joined me for a journey in the rich embrace of Pontiac maroon. Tonight, I had decided that we would venture west. From Orem, we skirted roads as close to the perimeter of Utah Lake as was possible at the time, and made our way to the west shore. There's been a lot of development since then. Houses line the shore and Saratoga Springs in a bustling community, but not so much in 2001. We continued south and west until the light pollution had weakened enough to see the stars well. I keep a utility box of sorts in my trunk and had a pair of binoculars.
Gazing for a while, we soon found the Pleiades, the seven sisters, and being the young men of overactive hormones that we were, decided we would each choose one of the seven daughters of Atlas to admire. We didn't know the names at the time, but I chose the faint Merope, who is the lowermost of the four stars making a diamond in the center of the cluster. Her luster had a longing to it, almost sorrowful, and spoke to me. Merope married the mortal Sisyphus though, and alas, my admiration was in vain. Sisyphus was crafty and evil. He chained Thanatos, god of death, so that the dead could not be taken to the underworld and as punishment, he has to roll a block of stone up a hill only to have it tumble down again and again just before it reaches the top.
I wish at times that I could comfort Merope. But alas, Zeus made her a star and placed her in the sky, in a foreign void where I know now I will never belong. I am powerless to do anything but build my island on the Utah Lake under her light, and look back with fondness when I can afford brief moments. That much, I will do.

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