The First Drawing

Have you ever wondered what it must have been like to have lived 30,000 years ago? It’s just really hard to imagine, I think. The closest I ever came to having a “prehistoric” feeling was years ago in Africa with our youngest son. We were so privileged to be staying with friends who had lived in Africa for years. We had been out all day and had climbed to the absolute pinnacle of a rock, when all of a sudden we looked down on a valley and a) you would not have been at all surprised to have seen a dinosaur or two or three ambling through and b) just at that moment the MOST spectacular black eagle came soaring up. AWESOME.

But, I digress…

The First Drawing  by Mordicai Gerstein is the amazing, albeit fictional, tale of a young boy who sees the animals around him in everything – in clouds, in stones, in the shadows of the walls in the cave that he lives in with his family. But his family just isn’t interested – they think…well…they think the little boy might be just a little bit…what shall we call him…different.

But after coming face to face with a wooly mammoth, the little boy can’t stand it any more. One night he is so excited, he grabs a burnt stick from the fire and begins to draw on the cave wall. His family is astounded – they say it is magic – and indeed – it is.

Mordicai Gerstein took the simple fact that the footprint of an eight-year-old was found in the cave with drawings over 30,000 years old and transformed the footprint into his own imagined story of how and why drawing was invented. He is correct – drawing is magic – without words a picture can tell us so many things, make us happy or sad, and be the gateway to our own imagination.

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