Amidst the morning’s dew as it lay upon the shards of grass and needles of pine were memories scattered across plains of endless wheat and hay, neath a sky of steel blue and billowing clouds carved with canyons and cursed with valleys. The memories of the sundered kings who shared blood with soil and forgotten screams with whispers in the dying fog of twilight scattered their shallow breaths together chorusing forth a wind that made the shafts of wheat dance neatly like their grieving shield maidens and weeping children. Towards the burning cold and arctic air, lay forth a sea of no men as she roamed onwards in hopes of finding something in the soft caress of the void. The salt of the ocean’s tears washed up on the stones and sea grass as they lay feeble and wilting, only to fall to the eternal stretch of the expanse, grasping for hope, meaning or love. The ocean gnashed and wailed in a roaring thunder of sorrow as it crashed onto itself, rolled to the surf and crept back into the tide and fell to the horizon.
Roaming the empty fields and waves, a philosopher often found himself meditating on the natural noises and musing on creation’s cacophony, as if it were a symphony of random, yet precise chaos. A perfect orchestration. A cosmic ballet. Upon the sea, laden and salt grimed rocks he sat, staring into the void and yearning, with a parchment and feather; watching and seeing. Reflecting not unlike the tidal pools did when he gazed at himself, old and wise, weathered and dying, only to watch his own natural mirror vanish forevermore. When the night came, the philosopher would gaze upwards towards the firmament and call upon the daughters of stars, the virgins of Apollo. The answer to his questions had always resulted in his own nightly musings and desires past the mortal realm. To what can we owe the pleasure of existing? That was a question he often asked, only to weep softly at the though of the frail and insignificance of it all. The vastness, the canvas, the open slate of thought may as well be non- existing, for what is it that we cannot understand? The marketmen and corner preachers would blaspheme this. To answer the question aforementioned, the creator or design of existence is to each man’s perspective! He would often gather forth fellow townsfolk, rich and poor, healthy, and diseased, young, and old, to the enlightenment that he, a merchant who cares more of his pocket weight and security than the purpose, would have miraculously conceived upon his voyages to the far east and southwest tribes.
Knowing this, the philosopher did not bathe in large temples of ornate gold and ivory masked with a blinding scented aroma of incense based with myrrh and marigold, but rather, he pursued what no other would call the finer things. The ocean gave him this unique sense of wonder that was more alive than the artificial stimuli that Persian prostitutes and ritualistic hallucinogens gave to their lords in the deserts. It was not as if he was without pleasure himself, for he did enjoy the finest wine in Athens or the luxury of aimlessly wandering the vast hallways of the Library at Pergamum. Though he did understand the depravity of the hedonism that the warlords of the east had associated themselves with, he could not fathom any possible escape past the monotony of Athens. For what did he owe the polis outside of his wise teachings that were only repeats of older and wiser teachers? He often contemplated the very nature of this while he roamed the forests of the north, barefoot and in synchronization with the eternal vibrations of the earth. Even as the wines from the freshest orchards in Athens began to sour, the material, the essence of the grapes did not. For they grew, blissfully unaware of their own inevitable ripening and destruction to fuel the luxurious. They never ceased to be for the sake of slowing the eternal turn of the wheel, nor did they grow to magnificent and succulent sizes for the pure sake of consumption and terroir. At this, the philosopher often asked the question of purpose, which often would make every aristocrat in Athens collectively sigh. Often, he would refrain from such tediousness as the sole question begs for its cyclical cacophonies to continue down their pathways to confusion. The elite had no concern for purpose, as the time wasted discussing it was the antithesis to their purpose, which was to govern. The philosopher often recited works from his betters, specifically Plato, for the ideal governmental form of the philosopher king, who ruled over the polis in the shadow of an enlightened iron fist. For he would have the process of wisdom as his means, but his mind occupied by shades of politics and government. The masses would have no concern or care for the purpose of the grapes lest they were in short supply because the knowledge had been lost. They do not wish to know the process, for they only want the wine. The gentle intoxicating numbness that accompanies the Agiorgitiko and her lush velvet and crimson texture was enough to mask the uncertainties of knowing how.
The philosopher reached a spot in the wood where he often found himself musing on its origin. A vast grove in the middle of the forest, where massive sunflowers grew to fantastical heights and wheat grew in absolute abundance reaching to his chest. Long, swaying birch trees bent with the wind and their fiery golden leaves fell like rain on the forest floor. Although beautiful, these sorts of areas had been nearly extinct due to the ever-expanding populations on the outskirts of Athens. If the lack of care for knowledge outside of hedonism made the philosopher heavyhearted, the destruction of the woodlands made him rage. Athens had prided themselves in their democracy, yet who will speak for the flames who swallow and spit the woodlands? Are we to live amongst the cobblestones gazing at the grandiose statues of gods and idols? What do they represent if nothing is to be reminded of the natural world in ages to come? There will be no forest for Artemis and her followers to hunt in or fine vineyards for Dionysus to indulge in. There will be no connection of earth to man, for the primal instinct will be placed solely onto him lest the natural world transform into streets of cobble and walls of marble. The goddess Demeter will not match her spheres of fertility and harvest if there is nothing to harvest. The pregnancy of the earth will have no correlation to the mother of whom bears her husband’s child. This will be the result of the soon and inevitable godless world.
The trees had returned as the philosopher exited the grove. In its place was a vast canyon of thick forest with no trail in sight. The trees grew from all angles in absolute chaos and disorder. As the sprawling canopies of the treetops covered the sky, the forest began to darken until he could not tell night from day. What will be of Athens in the distant future not unlike the dense forest he walks in? The cobble will turn to concrete, and the statues of ivory, gold and gemstones will be used for decoration and aesthetics instead of worship. How far will the forest grow? How far will we go down the pathway of mental autonomy? The forest was not always as it is now. If it was, then why was it not from the beginning? Why does man first relate his origin to another? If the answer is because of our limitations of consciousness and the primal state of where we were birthed in, then the philosopher beckoned the answer: What is primal about creation by another complex and infinitesimally divine being instead of the true primordial nature of our existence being formed by happenstance? Surely the prehistoric man does not question his origin as he moves with his tribe in search of food and fire. Why then is it considered progress and free thinking when a man of modernity thinks this way as well? This form of logic then results in the modern man being nothing more than his prehistoric ancestors. Not questioning his origin and endlessly searching for pleasure and comfort, instead of food and shelter.
At last, the forest gave way to the sea, vast and unending, where the philosopher had found himself at the beginning. He smiled softly at the slightly cyclical nature of things and the possibility of his creator being subtly humorous. As with everything, he thought, there comes a time of renewal and rebirth. The ever-turning wheel of creation must in turn destroy, and the waves of time only broke the rock at the edge of the cliff increasingly with every passing day. If one were to watch it, he would spend several lifetimes gazing at the eroding cliffside until it would suddenly crash into the abyss below it. Soon, the philosopher though, would be the fate of all existence. Until then, what are we to do except wait and live? Do we live our entire lives in search of other exotic pleasures or in a hopeless and mindless race of conquest and harm onto the innocent? To this, the philosopher sighed. The soul knows what it must follow, and at this he smiled once more, wafted inwards the soft briny air and turned round into the woodlands once more, where the chaotic spread of trees paved not a sense of disorder, but rather, the order. The divine cosmos and their inner workings was the chaos, and at this, the philosopher gazed upwards at the falling sky and shimmering starlight in a soft breath of wind he wept in a resounding hopeful way. The purpose was laid out, and he knew the way through the chaos. He had only to make the trail through the large thickets of fern and grass that lay in front of him, blocking his way.