At a time of so much political correctness, specifically the controversy over the name and logo of the NFL team, the Washington Redskins, I wonder why we celebrate Columbus Day. The second Monday in October, a day when there are schools across the country that close in recognition of Christopher Columbus, mail is suspended, and a big parade takes place in New York City we celebrate a man who treated Native Americans, the indigenous population of the land he supposedly discovered, abominably. Much is written about Columbus’ treatment of these native people, how with slavery, warfare and inhumane acts he erased an entire culture, yet we celebrate him and criticize the name of a football team.
Instead of denigrating an icon and rhapsodizing about political correctness, I’d like to focus on Columbus’ sense of adventure and discovery. We may not convince a king and queen to give us three ships and set out on a difficult voyage, but we can make our own discoveries.
An infant discovers his fingers, a chef a new flavor. You may discover a new wine or a flower in your garden that you never planted. Through exercise we discover an inner strength as well as a physical one and explore the beautiful ways a body can move. Writers discover truths about themselves as they create new characters and painters explore their inner thoughts on canvas. Photographers explore new ways to capture an image through lenses and apertures and readers discover people and locales, whether from the past, present, or future.
Exploration, discovery, adventure – we can have it all and we don’t even have to leave our homes. Quiet your mind, close the digital screens, turn off the television and let your mind take you on an adventure. You may discover something new about yourself. Enjoy the journey.