The Greeks fancied that their country occupied a central position, and that Mount Olympus, a very high mountain, the mythological abode of their gods, was placed in the exact centre. – H. A. Guerber in “The Myths of Greece and Rome” (1907)
[Jupiter: Father of the gods, and guardian of Mt Olympus]
When I was 11 years old, my father bought me a large, dusty and fascinating old book on mythology. Guerber’s “The Myths of Greece and Rome” cost him one pound, a princely sum for our family back then. It was to help with a school project on Greek mythology. It started a life long fascination with myths.
And towards Mount Olympus, our own grand, central mountain which looms large above leeawulena, the “sleeping water” of Lake St Clair. In more than thirty years of walking, tramping, rambling and otherwise exploring Tasmania’s high places, I have somehow missed out on climbing Mt Olympus.
[Tasmania's Mt Olympus above leeawulena/Lake St Clair]
[Tim refreshes himself on the ascent]
Summoning his faithful Pegasus once more Bellerephon rose higher and higher, and would probably have reached Olympus’ heights, had not Jupiter sent a gadfly, which stung poor Pegasus so cruelly, that he shied viciously, and flung his too confident rider far down to the earth below. (Guerber, op. cit., p 259-260.)
So for another hour or two it’s stop, swig, swat, swear, set off again. It’s little comfort to know that only some of the 400 plus species of march fly in Australia actually bite, and then only the females. I tell Tim that they prefer the nectar of flowering plants, and that the blood, which the females acquire by using their mandibles to bite into your skin, is only used to help them produce eggs. Despite his Buddhist leanings, this doesn’t seem to comfort Tim. To restrain ourselves from squishing them, we get moving again.
[Sunset on Olympus South, reflected in a tarn]