As I was out on this day soaking in some morning sun, I was reminded of a Norse myth that contained a detail that I thought was so strikingly beautiful to the soul.
The story is about the goddess Idunna who had been kidnapped from Asgard (the realm of the gods). This was tragic for the gods and goddesses because they depend on Idunna and her magical apples of youth that she distributes to them daily so that they all remain immortal.
While she was away, the gods started to decline rapidly in physical health. Upon her return they are happy again and regain their strength and vitality.
“Now that Idun walked among them again […], now that they had recovered the apples of youth, the Aesir were carefree once more. They were aware of the clement sun as if they had never felt it on their backs before ; they listened to each note of each birdcall, and watched every grassblade growing.” – (from the book “Norse Myths : God of the Vikings“)
When I first read them, I dwelt in those words for a while like I could actually feel what was being described. I’ve had moments like that … on sunny mornings or silent walks through a natural area when you feel free of the worries of ‘the real world’.
Some researchers say that the myths are not to be taken as literal stories, but rather they are metaphors for the human experience. The ancients did not believe in a final death, but held the belief of reincarnation.
In our mundane, modern perspective we might think that the story is saying that aging is a bad thing but I don’t think that is the case.
It could be that the story is meant to impart the importance of retaining the joy of youth and wonder and novelty in the world.
May you feel inspired to get out and feel the clement sun, hear the birdcalls and watch things growing this Spring as we head into Summertime …