1492 – Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue, the rest of the story

Painting of Christopher Columbus taking possession of the new world. In the painting, Columbus kneels on a rocky coast, with a flag in his left hand and a sword in his right. He is surrounded by European men, some of them bearing flags. In the background, three ships are in the water.

 This was supposed to be the weekend I caught up but, time is fickle and just as Johann Goethe, the noted German philosopher, wrote, “Every man has only enough strength to complete those assignments that he is fully convinced are important.” So therefore, I accomplished what I felt was truly important. Some of my to do’s will just have to wait for another day, or week. 

Columbus Day is one of those holidays that was intended to celebrate diversity when it first began to be celebrated in the late nineteenth century. The holiday has since been mandated as an official federal holiday, but it is now outdated. Columbus Day, like Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President’s Day, and sadly Memorial Day, as well as Labor Day serve as official three-day weekends for federal workers and school children across America, but unfortunately many school children do not know the meaning behind the any of the celebrations. Sad, but true we are losing heritage to leisure and it is frightening what our culture reinforces:  shopping and leisure in place of reflection, patriotism and service. Do not misunderstand me, I enjoyed the holiday and I did rest, but I paused to think about the meaning of the weekend. 

History teaches us that Christopher Columbus sailed from Spain with three small ships: the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. He was searching for a shorter trade route to Asia and the Indian spice and silk trade these commodities were important to Europe which was emerging from the long slumber of the Middle Ages. He surmised that if he sailed west he would eventually reach India. The prevailing wisdom of the day was that Earth was flat and he would sail right off the edge of Earth and perish. He had a hard time finding investors but he convinced Queen Isabella of Spain and her husband King Ferdinand that his expedition would launch a new era for Spain and it could compete with the world powers of the time: the Arabs and Italians. We know Columbus’ journey to India was actual a mistake and he landed in what we know now as the Bahamas just off the Florida coast. He made several more voyages to the New World and opened up the Americas to European exploration, colonization, domination, and in some perspectives exploitation. Regardless, it occurred on October 12, 1492 and it is remembered by school children from the poem “In 1492,” by Maurice Abravanel a Greek immigrant to the United States. Here are the first four stanzas.  

In fourteen hundred ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

He had three ships and left from Spain;
He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.

He sailed by night; he sailed by day;
He used the stars to find his way.

A compass also helped him know
How to find the way to go.

Just as Columbus relied on his compass we all rely on our own personal compass that directs us to our true north, what is important to us. So as Goethe wrote, we do make time for what is important to us. 

So I spent my weekend well, in fact it was a great weekend. William and I had the time together as Beth and Olivia had traveled to Houston to visit her sister and my mom. From the phone calls we had Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday they had a good time. It is always a good time to spend one on one time with William or Olivia as well as time together as a family. When we are one on one, it is a great chance to spend quality time with each other. William and I spent our time with each other sometimes talking and sometimes silent, speaking without words. We also took Ivy to the dog park, we watched a high school football game and finished the night off with a burger and some fries, we shopped for model rockets and dreamed, and watched football together on television. There was so much more than those four isolated events, we ate, talked, and worked together. I know he missed mom, as I did and we both missed Olivia, but we knew they were having a special time together. We finished the weekend off by repairing his closet door so it could close and open and we returned from the hardware store just as Beth and Olivia were pulling into the driveway. It was great weekend and it made the days count, truly. 

I miss having the opportunity to write daily or even every other day. I have so many ideas to write that never make it to the blog. I am going to encourage William and Olivia to write a guest blog soon, I do not know what it will look like or how it will happen. But, keep reading and looking ahead. The days are getting shorter and the trees are beginning to shed their leaves as fall is in full swing. Today at the dog park the wind rustled the leaves in the trees and there was a distinctive crunch to each step along the path as a watched Ivy run with abandon in the open space. Even for a dog, it was day that counted. For me the days continue to count, I know at school we are almost to the end of the first quarter, which means I am almost a quarter complete, but I am not counting. I am working to make the days count. One day at a time.

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Thanks for visiting MtDC. How are YOU Making YOUR Days Count?