Every American school child is taught: “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…” My elementary school children study Columbus and the amazing feats of nautical prowess. He and his company sailed wooden ships with fabric sails across a wide and deadly dangerous ocean to uncharted waters, ultimately finding a new world. Much like Max in Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Perhaps Columbus was sent to bed too many times without supper by his mother.
Our schools also examine the elaborate societies that the Europeans found when they came. Unlike in Wild Things, the societies were not without governance or order, and they did not seek to make Columbus their king. In my day, I studied the Iroquois, and I was impressed by their Six Nations, and their democratic governance, not unlike American governance today, with representatives chosen and sent to a tribal conference. These days, my kids study the Wampanoag tribe, who had cultivated maize, beans and squash, all things we still eat.
America is not alone in this history of waves of human migration. Throughout the centuries and across the world, mass migrations of humans have occurred, according to stories passed down, like the Silk Road stories and the stories of the ancient Celts, Vandals, Moors, Goths, Franks, Romans, Mongols, Vikings, Saxons, the list goes on and on. According to modern genetics testing, migrations have occurred over all continents. National Geographic is supporting a project to create an even more detailed picture of human migrations. Even Antarctica is not free of people moving to and from it. I would love to see it myself one day. I am the child of ancestors who migrated. My family is spread across the world, if I trace it far enough back.
Instead of Columbus Day, we should celebrate Wild Things Day. Let’s make this a day to celebrate all those migrations, to hike in nature and celebrate the magical, the wild things and the wild places.
Part of my heart is always excited to see a new place, to embrace all that is beautiful in the world and the people in it. If you want to celebrate migration and the wild places, and you can’t get up and go outside, then here are some potential armchair trips you can take:
Catch a wave with Ajaytao
Have breakfast at Antonio’s in Tagaytay City with Dreams and Escapes
Feed pigeons in Japan with Toemail
View succulent gardening with Belmont Rooster
Spot Squirrels in NYC with Tokidoki
Take an awe-inpsiring photographic journey of the elements with Wanderlust
Visit Avalanche Lake, Glacier Park, Montana with Ancient Eavesdropper
Look Due North with a mother of nine9
See hot air balloons with Photo of the Day, Etc.
Catch a couple glimpses of Grenada with Julie Riso
Gasp at the Enchanted Forest in Perthshire, Scotland, with the Fairytaletraveler
Gaze on a remote Scottish Castle with Cindy Williams Art
Notice a forgotten doorway in a Welsh museum with Harcourt 51
See rare views of Tibet with 1001 Scribbles
See a Mia cat from Australia with photographybycalliec
Climb Mount Everest with Ajaytao
View a beautiful waterfall with Vienaqui
And here are some late blooms in my neck of the woods to celebrate my ancestors whose wanderlust brought me to such a beautiful place:
Copyright 2013 Brenda Davis Harsham