“calms and tornado’s”
When my nephew Chris found himself in Colorado with a few extra hours yesterday, we hustled on over to one of our favorite shared destinations–the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. It’s the perfect place to stroll, catch up on each others lives and tuck a few more bits of trivia into our brains.
For example, during the IMAX 3-D ocean film when real-life Scuba Chris had highly poisonous (albeit virtual) sea snakes shooting in front of his face, I learned how much he DOES NOT like sea snakes. And when we visited the “Real Pirates” exhibit www.dmns.org/featured-exhibition that tells the tale of the Whydah–a slave ship turned pirate ship–we both learned fresh facts about the horrors of the slave trade, the economics of the pirate industry, and the role waves and winds played in personal and national history.
In the case of the Whydah, a killer storm ended her voyages in 1717. It also deposited the wreckage maritime archaeologist Barry Clifford and other divers would explore and recover nearly 300 years later for this gold-and-silver treasure trove.
One of my favorite items was a world map from the early 1700s. The coastal areas were well defined, down to small inlets and sandbars, which told me the map’s creator had a wealth of information from which to work. Interior areas–such as the spot that is now Colorado–were simply labeled “unknown territories.” Not much available data. Then there was the sizable space in the upper Atlantic tagged “calms and tornado’s.” Which said one ship’s pleasant voyage had been countered by another vessel’s nightmare. So to tell the truth, the cartographer used three words (and an unnecessary apostrophe, but I digress 😉 ) to communicate the good, the bad and the unknown.
Which has me thinking this Wednesday about the interior maps I carry with me and pull out when I’m entering new territory. Are they outdated? Whose word am I taking on what I might find? Who else’s might provide balance? And how much of what I experience will depend entirely on my own perspective? Worth considering.
“It’s not what you find. It’s what you find out.”
–Barry Clifford, Whydah archeological diver/discoverer