Thursday, November 14, 2019

Lewis, Clark, and the Corps of Discovery

Lewis, Clark, and the Corps of Discovery

I don’t recall that I’ve ever had a theme for a birthday or birthday year. I turned 66 in the spring of 2019. But, because of the number, it seemed natural somehow that Route 66 would be the deal. Somehow Lewis and Clark popped to mind.

President Thomas Jefferson commissioned the expedition shortly after the Louisiana purchase in 1803 in order to explore and map the newer acquired territory.

Lewis and Clark did not go alone. They were accompanied by what was called the Corps of Discovery. CORPS of Discovery. Corps like Marine Corps or Drum and Bugle Corps. Members of the expedition were serving in the US Army. Volunteers, they say. Perhaps.

I wondered what the core of the Corps could be. What is the CORE of discovery. How to explore? Perhaps curiosity and open-mindedness is a good place to start. Perhaps they critical items to include in the packing for the journey itself.

For me the important part of this expedition was not the expedition alone but the fact that, in addition to all that, some of them at least, had to sketch wildlife and trees. Some of the explorers were employed mapping the terrain and the topography. They did their daily work and some of them sat down and wrote about it. Because, without the story, the chronicle, the trip would’ve been worth less. Worthless.

These people went into the wilderness for an unknown amount of time hiking, canoeing, setting up camp, trapping and shooting game, preparing food, and doing everything that you would need to do to get by and progress day by day. And then they wrote the story.

Somehow lately I have been enthralled with the idea of mapping my life by using carto-graphics to indicate where I have been, where I think I am now, and determine where I might go next.

I have been wrestling with this idea and have gotten a little closer with this poem.

Finding Home

I have been scribbling,
at map making, in order
to describe my life.

I name the avenue, boulevard,
cul de sac, drive, expressway,
using author names and book titles.

I name the rivers, creeks, lakes,
parks, hospitals, zoos, schools,
museums, airports, and

destination restaurants
using words
of my own choosing.

I pick from family, friends,
artists, musicians, song titles,
bird names, trees, and clouds

I have a theme park of words
I have created on my own
and I am finding home


David L White


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