And we ran through the moonlight far beyond
There was a young woman, Daphne, who liked to run with Artemis, goddess of the Moon and hunt. The description of their nights is always the same: a group of nymphs, all virgins, sprint through the woods looking for deer with Artemis leading the way. It's always summer, there's always laughter and boys never come into the picture. The story wasn't really about this though. It was about Apollo, brother of Artemis and god of the Sun. One day, he makes the mistake of mocking Cupid's little arrows. "You can't slay animals with those," Apollo sneers. To which Cupid replies, calmly, one hopes, in order to make the threat plain, "No, these are for you." Apollo scoffs, walks away, fixes his sandal, does whatever it is Gods do. And Cupid takes his tiny love arrow and directs it straight to Apollo's heart. (Cue: ABC's Poison Arrow)
Unfortunately, the woman that Apollo immediately falls in love with is the aforementioned Daphne. He's never been in love so he doesn't really know what to do. He begins to follow her, desperately trying to woo her and winds up, understandably, terrifying her. Considering that she is not interested in marriage or men to begin with, Cupid over-eggs the pudding a bit when he shoots her as well, with an arrow of hate. Apollo is a million times more loathsome now so she starts to run away from him. He gives chase. She runs through those very same woods that she enjoys at night, this time in the dappled light. He gains on her, grabs her waist, and it is then that, depending on which version of the story you read, she cries out either to Artemis or her own father, Peneus, to save her. Her prayer is answered. Her outstretched arms grow hard and dark, her skin turns to bark and leaves shoot out from her fingertips. Apollo finds himself seizing a tree. A laurel tree.
Girls' Night Out by The Knife reminds me of this myth. Not the event but the foreshadowing, the inkling that things are going to change, come down. The landscape is different of course. It's a modern city, night clubs, not forests, she runs through, and she ain't looking for deer. Karin Dreijer Andersson sings "We aimed for high speed/And for someone who could catch me" but it doesn't sound like she wants to be caught. What is happening to her right now is much too exhilarating. I wonder what her transformation would be if someone tried to mess with her.
Song to seek:
Girl's Night Out/The Knife (mp3)
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