Christopher!

Discover

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

********************

My aged brain immediately conjured up poor old Christopher Columbus, who had a terrible time getting the kings and queens of the day to finance his trip. He wanted to sail off on what would seem like a tiny little boat to us today, and no one was particularly interested in providing him the means to do so.

Once he finally got the financing, he had to find sailors who were willing to sail over the edge of the horizon and perhaps never find a way to get back up. The idea of a flat world was still pretty well entrenched, and going off on a voyage of discovery was a fool’s errand.

Image result for Christopher Columbus

Chris found his crew, though, and they did go on their amazing journey. Of course, geography was a little skewed back then, and he thought he’d discovered the far East.  I don’t remember if he ever got that figured out.  El Salvador, as we know it now, is generally considered the place of his first landing in the New World. It’s not surprising that he named  the land “The Savior.” A devout Catholic, I’m sure he felt he had indeed been saved from any more tedious days on a vast ocean that wasn’t exactly the friendliest place he’d ever been.

Columbus has been blamed for a lot of bad stuff.  Some of it he did; a lot of it he didn’t. He was actually a man ahead of his time, as most of those early explorers and adventurers were, but he was also still  wrapped up in chains of tradition and superstition. His discoveries are still pretty amazing when you consider he had none of the technology we take for granted these days.

I don’t think he would have enjoyed being alive today, unless he could be an astronaut. No new worlds left to discover on this old earth. He was both adored and despised even in his own time, and if memory serves, he died a lonely and poor  man  when he was about 50.

Maybe he should have stayed on El Salvador.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/discover/

Advertisement

Not-So-Bon-Voyage

Voyage

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

*************

Sometimes I think about what it must have been like for the early explorers who fitted out what would look to us like tiny little ships, and set sail for vast oceans that led to nothing they knew or understood.

I think about suffering through unimaginable storms in those little boats. And no Coast Guard to come to the rescue.

maritime-2016-02-24-16-23-45

The lack of fresh food that led to scurvy and, I’m sure, other illnesses. The lack of fresh water. Lack of sanitation. And the harsh discipline that often existed, because the captain was the king.

I think about landing in the Doldrums, where ships were trapped endlessly in no wind,  no movement, in the sweltering humid tropics.  No engines to help them out of that awful predicament.

But oh, my, the wonders they saw!  A whole new world, different from anything they had imagined.  Unpopulated paradise islands; others that were populated with both friendly and unfriendly people.  Stepping off those boats onto a land that held who-knew-what.  It’s no wonder they believed there were fountains of youth, caches of gold, untold riches for the taking.  Can you imagine the first European eyes taking in the vaunted Halls of Montezuma?

It wasn’t all glory, as we know.  Greed, jealousy and deceit are a part of human nature, both for the explorer and the explored. Believe me, before the Aztecs and Incas were enslaved by European explorers, they were busily enslaving and cutting the hearts out of each other in the name of sacrifice to their gods.

Sometimes we romanticize what those voyages must have been like. I believe it involved a lot more that wasn’t particularly romantic, but was just hard, discouraging,  frightening, and ended in disaster.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/voyage/