Monday, March 25, 2024

When The Grasshopper Sings To Eos

When I was a young man growing up in rural North Carolina, my home rested in the middle of a forest, down in a small valley just outside of Thomasville. Summers in North Carolina are exceptionally hot, and living in such a naturalistic setting, the songs of the grasshoppers and crickets (which are part of the grasshopper family), are something that always reminds me of that time and place no matter where I live in America. Even in the Illinois summer, I will stop on a hot and humid night just to listen to the distant sounds of crickets (grasshoppers sing in the morning and during the day), because it reminds me of home, where I came from, and of a Greek story that few people probably know. That is the story of Eos and how the grasshopper was created.

Eos is the Titan Goddess of the dawn. Each morning, She rises gloriously with Her trumpets and roses to announce the coming of Helios and a new day for Gods and men. Eos, like other Goddesses, loved Gods as well as mortal men, and one of such was a Trojan Prince by the name of Tithonos. He caught Her eye in a very unique and exceptional way, and She grew so in love that She would visit him each and every day. 

Eos knew She never wanted to be without him, so She asked Zeus to make him immortal, which the King of the Gods granted. However, while Eos had now made Her lover immortal, She had forgotten to also ask that he remain young forever. After a century, Tithonos was so old that he could barely move, and the longer time went on, the more pain and decay he found himself subjected to, but death never came. Eos attempted to ease his pain by locking him in a safe, unknown location away from the outside world, but even that couldn't change the fact that he was not even a shadow of his former self, only a bed ridden man in constant pain. 

Eos realized that despite Her attempt to keep Her love forever, She had indeed lost him in his mortal form. But She discovered a way to change that form and forge it into a new life that became the grasshopper. As you can see in the picture to the left, Eos did not neglect to show us how beautiful Her Tithonos was by decking the grasshopper in beautiful artistic features, but most notable is that these insects chant at the break of dawn, singing to Eos as She comes forth each day.

I wish I had known these timeless stories and myths when I was a boy. I wish I had been raised a Hellenist. Although I did start to discover the Greek Gods while still living at my childhood home. And I can certainly say that wherever you are in the world, Hellenism makes that world far more intriguing and memorable.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
I'll see you at the next Herm down the road,
Chris Aldridge.