I slept late today, and when I awoke I hugged my blanket, felt the crispness of a long-forgotten breeze and heard the murmur of a cool, biting wind that led me to my window, through which I saw the year’s first autumnal sky.
White clouds and grey against a glaucous blue. I thought of M and the flag of Finland, which is blue and white and brings to mind a clean, cold northern skyscape. The wind hit my skin and entered my lungs.
Glaucus (without the “o”) was a Greek sea god who had a fish tail and fins (no second “n”) and who fell in love with the nymph Scylla. She was afraid of him because of his appearance, so Glaucus asked the beautiful witch Circe to make him a love potion that he could use on Scylla. Instead, Circe fell in love with Glaucus and, in her anger at the sea god’s unerring affection for Scylla, poisoned the pond where Scylla bathed—causing the nymph to turn into a twelve-footed, six-headed monster with dogs’ heads around her waist and a cat’s tail.
If only Scylla could have accepted her new form, the story would have been a strange but beautiful one about eternal love. Imagine two lovers, both hideous to the outside world, but enamored with each other and freed from the eyes and manipulations of those around them, able to live forever in quiet, peace and shared comfort.
Unfortunately, as was, Scylla became ashamed of her looks and hid herself in a faraway strait, where she was feared and from where she preyed on unsuspecting sailors. Yet for lack of a happy end, there is a compromise—cooperation and balance: Glaucus, it was rumored, rescued shipwrecked sailors, thereby working indirectly with his love to create harmony in the world.
Years later, The Police would sing about being “caught between the Scylla and Charybdis”, the monster on the other side of the same strait, in “Wrapped Around Your Finger”, a magical love song about the sea-like, tidal relationship between two lovers (one of whom is married: “Hypnotized by you if I should linger / Staring at the ring around your finger”) whose powers over each other rise and fall and fluctuate, so that what starts as “I’ll be wrapped around your finger” ends as “You’ll be wrapped around my finger”.
Glaucous blue sky with grey and white clouds:
I stood gazing out the window and thinking for two or three minutes, transfixed and invigorated. Unlike many people (Summer people), I adore the Fall and the Winter. I feel alive. I like shorter days and longer nights, cooler weather and the smell of a September rain shower. The change—it comes in a day but lasts weeks—from Summer to Autumn is my favourite season. An evening walk in a thin coat: enchantment.
Yet today I felt different than in any other year. All was fine, but fine was not enough. I felt want. I need this season and this enchantment; but I need it with you, M. I can’t wait until we’re able to share this time together. A walk, hand-in-hand, two breathes materializing in the air before us, and the touch of the most beloved shoulder against mine:
Wrapped around each other and living out the tale of Glaucus and Scylla that never was but will be.
I love you.