Posted in Africa, Travel

The Three Graces

In Greek mythology, the Charites were goddesses of charm, beauty, nature and creativity. Aglaea, “Splendor” was the youngest, Euphrosyne, “Mirth,” was the middle sister and Thalia, “Good Cheer,” the eldest. To the Romans they were known as the Gratiae, the “Graces.” Homer wrote that they were in the retinue of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, pleasure and procreation. Although early depictions of the Graces occurred in marble sculptures dating from the 6th century BC and a first century fresco at Pompeii, they are more likely known by the Renaissance paintings of Botticelli, Raphael and Rubens.

The Three Graces - Rafael
The Three Graces – Rafael


In Africa, grace – the pleasure of beauty in nature – is a constant state of existence.  Splendor, the youngest of the Gratiae, can be found in moments both large and small – in the turn of a head or in a long, glorious sunset.


Three Graces photo small


These three  impala in identical coats pause before us in a moment of easy grace.  The youngest, coltish, knock-kneed, takes our breath away when she throws us a glance over her shoulder.  The charm, the Charities, of fleeting beauty.


Cheryl Merrill’s essays have been published in Fourth Genre, Pilgrimage, Brevity, Seems, South Loop Review, Ghoti, Alaska Quarterly Review, Adventum and Isotope. “Singing Like Yma Sumac” was selected for the Best of Brevity 2005 and Creative Nonfiction #27. It was also included in the anthology Short Takes: Model Essays for Composition, 10th Edition. Another essay, “Trunk,” was chosen for Special Mention in Pushcart 2008. She is currently working on a book about elephants: Larger than Life: Living in the Shadows of Elephants.

10 thoughts on “The Three Graces

  1. Here because of Harper – and so glad to find you. A lovely piece – I simply loved the way you linked the three Graces… and the exquisite impala..

  2. Hi there I popped over on Harper’s recommendation and so pleased I did. I can see why you were knocked out by the young Impala – such a look, such a precious look.

    1. Isn’t Harper such a gentleman? I love his sense of humor. Thanks for “popping over” and your kind words. Impalas fascinate me with their huge obsidian eyes and nearly-regal movements. I immediately thought of a reversed “Three Graces” the moment I took that shot.

  3. Cheryl, Lovely comparisons are used in this beautifully written piece — the graceful Impala is so apt.
    May your eloquent pen continue dancing lightly on the pages, with Amazing Grace.
    With love…GG X

      1. Thanks for the compliment, Cheryl. It’s a compromise as Mom wanted Gillian and Dad wanted René as my first name 🙂 Hugs back

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s