Monday, October 8, 2012

A New World

The historian in me gets twitchy about Columbus Day; I'm not quite sure what it is that we're celebrating exactly, but I am pretty confident that it's historically inaccurate.  However, I'll take any excuse for a federal holiday and, as you know well, I'll take any excuse for a musing.

Sometimes, when I drive out into the countryside, through the rolling hills of Virginia or the darkest forests of Connecticut, I imagine I know how the English felt when they came to North America.  It's hard to picture war or hunger or hardship when gazing upon such a glorious abundance of unsullied land, seemingly removed from anything contemporary even in this day and age.

Both of the first two English settlements in what is now America - Jamestown, founded in 1607, and the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in 1620 - were based on the hopes and dreams that nothing but a new world could inspire.  The settlers in Virginia pursued untapped wealth; the pilgrims at Plymouth sought spiritual purity.  Only the virgin earth of America could have provided such fertile ground for the boundless optimism that has come to define this country.

personal photos, Sept-Oct 2012

And the best way, I think, to honor those who came before us - the pilgrims who first set foot on our shores to create a city on a hill, the settlers who struck out west through vast swaths of unknown dangers armed with manifest destiny, the refugees who fled persecution and hopelessness with the burning need to find opportunity -  is to maintain that optimism.  This land has been and can continue to be a new world, a world where anything is possible if we work hard and we work together, not only for our own benefit but also for the common good.

I hope you're having a lovely long weekend, dear readers, and I wish you the best of weeks ahead.


  1. Well put! Happy Columbus Day and here's to a wonderful and optimistic future!


  2. I have been doing the Ancestry thing on my husband's side of the family (the American side.) Several of his ancestors came over in the 1600's to both MA and VA; in fact, one of his many times great grandmothers was one of only four women in Jamestown! She had four husbands - obviously they kept dying off and she was obviously compelled to keep marrying and reproducing to keep things going. It is very amazing that any of them survived, - and even more amazing to think of how many descendants they all now have.

  3. I know exactly what you mean. My husband's best friend lives in Connecticut and I never felt such a connection to my country's heritage until we went to visit back in 2010. It was gorgeous. I would love to move there! I'm jealous that it's so close for you!

  4. well, close is relative :)

    There's a country song called "Flyover States" that sort of says all this about the middle of the country - I think everyone can find patriotism of a sort in their patch of the country, no matter where it is!

  5. Fall is here! especially love the photo of the fall leaves! Such gorgous colors!

  6. One of the weird holidays that actually isn't celebrated all over the country.
    In California, we stopped getting the day off of school and work back in the early 90's and the only things that were closed on Monday out here were the post, libraries and government. Everything else trucked on as usual.


I love reading your thoughts and suggestions! Please do leave a comment so we can get to know each other better.