A Windy Treatise on the Development of Theogony

A Windy Treatise on the Development of Theogony

By Steve O’Connor

Well, March certainly came on like a lion. I’m sure you all remember the night of March 1st when the wind, to quote Bob Dylan, “shook our windows and rattled our doors,” and howled around the eves. The wind kept my wife awake on wind sentinel duty. She doesn’t trust a fearsome wind and seems to worry that the house will be carried away. I just thank God I’m in the house and not, say, on the summit of Mount Washington, or out on a thirty-foot sailboat in the Gulf of Maine.

At one point, my wife asked me, “What causes a wind like that?”

“It’s due to…uhm, the wind is…you see, it’s caused by…”

It dawned on me right then, as clear as Poland Springs, that this must be how world mythology began. Back in ancient Greece, some woman asked her husband during a turbulent night in the Peloponnese, “What do you think causes the wind?”

Now this particular man was not about to say, “Honey, I have no idea what’s going on here.” That went against man’s nature then as it does today. Some things are eternal. So, he began to mansplain. “You see, darling, there is this being…”

“A god?”

“Yes. Precisely. A god. And he has a big bag of wind. I guess—wait—he has several bags full of all kinds of winds: zephyrs, breezes, gusts and blasts, all the way up to full-blown hurricanes.”

“In bags?”

“Well, sometimes he just blows hard, but he likes the bags—it’s convenient— big bags, of course. And you know, he’s a whimsical fellow…”

“God.”

“Yes. A whimsical god. I mean, aren’t they all? So tonight, maybe he drank too much ambrosia and he took a fancy to release a rocking bit of north northwest on us as a lark.”

“Hmm. What’s his name?”

“Oh, it’s uhm Ellis, or…”

“Αἴολος?”

“I love your cute little Spartan accent. Yes, that’s it. Aeolus.”

“How do you know all this stuff?”

“I just pick it up here and there. You have to keep your ears open.”

“Where does he live?

“Uhm, last I heard he lived on an island out there on the wine-dark sea.”

“Do people visit him out there?”

“Ah, yes. No. I mean, they have, but it’s tricky. It’s kind of a floating island.” He moved both hands up and down to illustrate the instability of the island. “So, it’s hard to find, you know.”

“A floating island. Wow.” She snuggled closer to him as the wind rushed through the olive trees outside, producing a crackling woosh that made the dog growl. “You’re so smart,” she said.

“Well, I graduated at the top of my lyceum…”

“I thought Pythagorus was at the top.”

“Okay if you want to get picky. I was near the top… half. High enough to know about things like ‘the wind.’”

“See, I thought that the wind was caused by gases that transit from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure, and the velocity of the wind reflects the degree of difference between the areas of pressure. You know, that the gasses will move faster into an area the lower the pressure is.”

He drew back from her, surprised. “Is that what you heard?”

“Yes. It’s one of Lucretius’s theories in his treatise on the nature of things.”

“Hmmph.” He nodded, considering. “Interesting. No, I’m pretty sure it’s the guy with the bags of wind.”

“Well, that sounds more logical.”

“Yes. Gasses and pressure. What?” He stifled a burst of laughter. “Come on. Now that dog produces gasses and…” He stopped short because he could feel the dog watching him in the dark. He had heard that sometimes gods disguise themselves as animals, and he didn’t want to risk insulting a god.

“Tell me something else from your store of wisdom,” his wife said.

“Oh, what would you like to know, dear?”

“Why is there evil in the world?”

“Evil? Evil. Good question. Well, there wasn’t always, but there was this lady, she had everything—all the gifts. Her name was, ah, Pan-dora, which means…”

“‘All the gifts,’ and don’t tell me. It’s her fault that there is evil in the world.”

“Don’t you want to hear my story?”

“I’ve heard similar ones.”

“Well, yeah, I mean that shitshow over in Troy. Blood and guts and dead people with spears sticking out of them and burning and looting and pillaging and,..and booty…and…”

“All the fault of a woman, right?”

“Yes. I’m afraid so. Helen caused the whole mess.”

“How about Paris? He kidnapped her!”

He was silent for a moment, considering this undeniable fact. “All right. Can we get back to Aeolus for a minute?”

“That’s enough wind for one night darling. Goodnight.”

“Okay then, good night.” He punched his pillow and settled himself, muttering, “Damned Pythagorus. He used to copy my homework. Suddenly he’s got all these ‘theorems’—toast of the town. And I’m still pressing olive oil. The gods really are so whimsical.”

9 Responses to A Windy Treatise on the Development of Theogony

  1. Kevin Perrault says:

    Very nice short story to read in the covidtime
    and wake up smiling to start the day off! Thank you for the wonderful distraction. Time for coffee.-)

  2. Jim says:

    I’ll have to look up “Theogony” and if I am granted “world enough and time” write an answer to it by comparison to the Genesis
    Account of Creation given in the Authorized Version, KJV.

  3. David Daniel says:

    You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows (as long as there’s some mansplaining going on). A clever bit of ancient — and modern — history there, Mr. O’Connor.

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