The Joy of Life
Carpo shook her head sadly as, once more, Demeter wept for the loss of her daughter. Thallo and Auxo, Carpo’s sisters and fellow horae, had graced Earth with a beautiful spring and summer, but now the trees were changing their colours. Long gone the fresh and rich greens of spring and summer and the vivid bloom of flowers. The trees were now adorned with crowns of copper, bronze, russet and gold. To Carpo it was simply exquisite.
As always, Persephone shed sorrowful tears as she said her farewells to Demeter, taking in the glory of Earth before setting out on her journey back into the Underworld. But these changed to tears of joy when her eyes met those of Hades, the god who had stolen her from Earth to be his queen and to rule the Underworld at his side. Still, Demeter wept, though Carpo reflected that things were much improved compared to the Autumn when Persephone had first been taken. At that time Demeter—goddess of harvest and agriculture, who had responsibility for crops and grains, for food and the fertility of Earth—had neglected all her duties, plunging Earth into a deadly famine which lasted for years. Nothing grew and many thousands of mortals had died. Utter disaster was only averted when Zeus intervened, making a bargain with Hades that Persephone should spend half of the year in the Underworld and half on Earth. Demeter was pacified, but she still hated when summer came to an end. Where Carpo, and many mortals on Earth perceived autumn as a symbol of plenty, with ripening berries and nuts and an abundant harvest, all Demeter could see was decay, decline and death.
For Demeter there was no joy, for Carpo there was all. She danced and sang through the forest, sweeping up armfuls of the beautifully tinted leaves, tossing them into the air, twirling in joyful abandon as they rained down around her. Life was everywhere, some preparing to sleep, to wake again in springtime. But to Carpo, autumn was the most beautiful, thrillingly joyful season of the year.