Of the Twelve Olympians, Apollon is the one that I had the most trouble finding. I have always related more to his twin sister, Artemis, and although I feel we would understand each other quite well I’ve never seemed to connect with him.
Not that I didn’t try. I looked for him in ancient writings and I looked for him in nature; but wherever I called to him, he remained silent. So I gave up looking. I focused on other Gods instead, telling myself that Apollon would find me when the time was right.
I prayed to Zeus and made offerings to Demeter and kindled Hestia’s fire, and I ran barefoot in the forest feeling Artemis’s spirit billow around me. I read the Iliad and Hesiod’s Works and Days. And I went on with my life.
Then one day, a friend of mine sat down at her piano, and she started to play the first few notes of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. And the world seemed to stop.
Suddenly I was no longer in her little wooden house in the New Zealand countryside, I wasn’t even in New Zealand – I was back in Switzerland, in my best friend’s apartment overlooking the lake, and he was playing the Moonlight Sonata on a piano that was slightly out of tune. And then I was in the concert hall of the conservatoire, seeing him play once again, flicking his long brown hair out of his face and hiding a smile when he saw I had come to watch.
Then the tune switched to the Ave Maria, and I was standing next to his piano and singing the prayer to a saint neither of us believed in. But it didn’t matter, because we were doing it together.
Tears streaming down my cheeks, I left the room and didn’t come out until the music stopped. But something was pulling inside me.
One week later, I couldn’t resist the call any longer and opened up my music library. There it was, as obvious as ever. I listened to one song after another, from symphony to symphony and concerto to concerto, each bringing back memories I didn’t even know I had. There I was learning to play the Ode to Joy on the recorder, and there I was discussing Brahms and Schubert in music class; there, performing Mendelssohn’s Die Erste Walpurgisnacht, and there, going to see Tchaikovsky’s ballets with my friends. No matter the time in my life, I was always accompanied by the tune of some classical composer.
But most striking of all was an image that didn’t come from memory at all. It was the image of a young man with golden hair, sitting on a grassy hill, his fingers plucking the strings of a lyre. A smile danced on his lips. He was laughing at me.
And I laughed as well, because it was obvious. I had been looking in all the wrong places. Apollon had been there all along.
He had always been there, in the music in my soul.