One day I wandered over, picked a berry and examined it in the sunshine. I tossed it in my mouth. The next day two appeared. What an amazing thing. For a moment I caught a glimpse of how early people might have seen the world – filled with simple magical connections, sustaining, delighting and feeding them . Do we still carry the same sense of wonder when we work, or eat, or gaze at the world ?
Our earliest human ancestors were attuned to the movement of the seasons by necessity. But I also imagine them amazed and delighted by the earth in its Garden of Eden like quality.Yes, there were wild animals around and you had to sometimes be on your guard. But there must have been many long days where all you had to do was pick fruit and wait for it to blossom again.
For the early Greeks this love feast with the earth spawned seasonal festivals and celebrations, myths and stories, and even some of the gods themselves. All this touching of nature was so beautiful, the gods must be present, the early Greeks thought. Demeter and her daughter Persephone provided the harvest of fruits and flowers and “ the good things of the earth”, and Dionysus pitched in with the grape and all the other wild growing things. The earth- Ge- was herself seen as a god perpetually replenishing her self. The early Greek’s thanks offering to the gods for this delicious abundance, this love feast, was art. Sculpture, temples, stories, painting and musical poetry all poured out of them into the growing world.
At one of the connection point between this abundant out flowing of nature and the Greeks grateful response was the invention of an utterly original art form – drama – dedicated to one of these wild growing, unpredictable overflowing gods.