He dressed, then, in the formal trousers, stiff white shirt and swallow-tail coat, adding black socks and shiny dress shoes. It would not do to conduct a symphony in other than appropriate attire. He then packed the other clothes and the plastic bag in the backpack, and propped it beside a rock.
Once again, he walked to the centre of the plateau. There he spent some minutes looking around. Yes, there were many fish in the lake below, and colourful birds flying around. And there, facing him across the lake, the natural formation that looked so like a giant owl. To him, this was the Goddess Athena/Minerva. He would direct his symphony in praise and supplication to Her, though it would be a silent one. No musical instruments were there, all the music would be in his mind, no need for sound, She would hear. And if his music pleased, She would grant his prayer. This would be the greatest symphony ever written, surpassing all that came before.
Closing his eyes and tilting his head back, he visualised the work, seeing the notes, the orchestra, the huge concert hall. He raised his arms, paused, and began. His arms moved, directing the violins, then the flutes, the horns, the cellos, each section of the orchestra. He heard the sounds, the blending, the short solos, the soft, peaceful singing of the strings, then the growing music, building to crescendo. And the percussion section hammering out a martial beat, that blended into a great, sublime anthem of praise and exultation.
As his arms moved, he slowly opened his eyes. Above him, the birds were flying in frantic circles, that gradually unwound into a string of colours swiftly disappearing off into the distance. Looking down, he saw that the fish were echoing the movement of the birds, circling madly around the lake, and then following the leaders away, down the stream, he knew not where. He was caught in the spell of his own making, arms moving faster and faster, as the music he heard grew wilder, louder, almost warlike. And then he came to the end of his symphony, and the frantic pace eased, everything became calm, and the work ended in peace and harmony.
The release from the spell left him limp, almost too weak to remain standing. Gradually his breathing slowed, and he raised his head. Across the lake the owl-like formation stood, unchanged. But no, it was not quite the same. A large human-like hand had appeared at the bend in one wing. Slowly it moved up to the beak, then turned palm up and moved slightly toward him. He felt a wash of love, and blessing flow over him, and in his mind he heard ‘Well done, I/we accept this offering, this Athena/Minerva symphony. Go in peace, it will be honoured wherever it is played.’
For a moment, he stood and stared, then he bowed deeply, whispering ‘thank you, my Goddess.’ sighing, he turned to his backpack, to change into the tough clothes for the descent back to the mundane world - and a lifetime of success.