Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Antiquariana: Marshall Islands Sea Charts

The steepness of waves, their pattern of refraction, or the amount of cresting can all indicate location. Star configurations and their movement are markers that can be used with equal reliability. Species of birds that nest on land fly at a variety of distances from shore. Birds also fly at altitudes that make them visible to the human eye far more easily than a low atoll invisible over an unmarked horizon. Sea colors, sounds, water temperature, and phosphorescence change with depth, as do the type and variety of sea creatures that can be observed. Floating debris and smells travel in predictable patterns. Speed can be marked by the time a sail keeps a certain shape matched with the memory of how fast a particular canoe traveled in an equal breeze. Clouds form over land in a manner different from over the sea. This listing could go on at great length. The point is that people living “in place” have the ability to customize a worldview that allows the physical world to become alive with nuance and opportunity.
from “Eye Memory: The Inspiration of Aboriginal Mapping,” by Doug Aberley

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Antiquariana: (But not really) Robin's Hood

Happy Robin Whood coming to Lyndric falls asleep and hath a strange Dream there. Which at his awaking, he relates to his Companions, and then tells them that he is resolved forthwith to turn Hermit. Robin retires to Depe Dale, chuses the penitent Thief for his Patron, and spends the Remainder of his Time in great Penance and Devotion. He falls sick of a fever, Repairs to Kirklees to be let Blood. His mind consoled his endurable time slips away. Again he is lying in Little John's arms, it is a dream within a Barnsdale dreaming: again there is a thief in the forest, now a rival shaman in Gisborne's disguise clad from head to foot in the hide of a horse, a blood mire of a path through the maze of trees Robin alone knew by weird aiming of his aimless arrow and the dream within the dream before that when he was captured in Nottingham not saving Marian who first named him a 'Hood but kneeling as he must before the one in whose image his deere ladye was.

-from A Robin Hood Book (1996), by Alan Halsey, previously of Hay-on-Wye, Wales.