Friday, January 14, 2011

Something To Ponder

I went for a walk this morning at Ft. Caroline National Monument.  They have a beautiful nature trail that winds its way through a gorgeous upland forest.  As I was walking and musing about the history of this place, I was struck by one of those moments of clarity;  the true cost of freedom.

The Ft. Caroline area of NE Florida was the first documented European settlement on the North American continent.  It was settled in 1562 by French Huguenots (a Protestant religious sect) who were fleeing religious persecution.  These people were pissed-off, or scared enough, to gather themselves and their families, buy a small boat, sail out across a vast ocean that few men had ever lived to tell about to a land where there was no other European settlement of any kind and virtually nothing known about the natives.

Think about it.  What would it take for you to leave everything and everyone you've ever known and go to a place that was totally unknown where the odds were that you and all of your companions wouldn't even survive the journey there, much less survive once you get there?

At what point would you be willing to risk your life for freedom?

I ask myself that question and the answer is always the same.  I flat don't know. 

I can't imagine what it would take to make me put on a back pack, grab a rifle and set out for a foreign land that I knew nothing about.

But one thing's for sure, as bad as it is, it ain't that bad yet.

(As to the Huguenots, in fact, they all did die as the Spanish settled St. Augustine a couple of years later and proceeded to massacre the whole lot of them.)


  1. What would it take? Younger legs and great desire to be more free than I am now. Those fols should have turned turned to Starboard. they would have been allowed for a hundred years in the Celtic lands before Calvinism hit.

  2. I don't have an answer, either but my plan is, the next time I take off somewhere, I want to be running TO something instead of AWAY from something.

  3. WM... Maybe they should have turned to port and populated the Canary Islands.

    Intelli... Bravo. Well said.

  4. Our ancestors tamed the native Canadians and learned to live in peace. Haven't had as much luck with the Quebecois ;-)

  5. Doug... So are you saying the problem is the French?

    Punch... Remember the scene in the Godfather where Sonny says to his lieutenants "I don't want my brother coming out of that crapper with nothing but his dick in his hand."

  6. A SLIGHT inaccuracy C. The Spanish were indeed establishing themselves in what is now called St. Augustine, at the same point in time of Fort Caroline. But it was the Huguenots who first set out to destroy the Spanish settlement. You see, the Huguenots were protestant, and the Spanish were their arch enemy...Catholic. As the fickle finger would have it, the Huguenots encountered a hurricane on their way, and were cast upon the shores. The Spanish, in retaliation, attacked and destroyed the settlement at Ft. Caroline.

    A great case for separation of church and state, in my view.

    Incidentially...are you saying, the rifle is an extension of a dick?

  7. JJ.... Picky, picky, picky. I wasn't going to get into he said, she said. As to the rifle. Isn't it? Think about it.

  8. I guess that helps Mr. C. but I have never felt the need of a rifle while on the crapper, on the other hand, nah nevermind.

  9. Punch... good idea. Let's not discuss your needs while on the crapper.

  10. Naw the Celtic lands were already protestant by then because of Henry the VIII. My father family were Huguenots, left France went to England before coming here in 1630 or there about.

  11. Strange coincidence Walking Man, my family were English Protestants, gamblers, boozers and thieves and they all ended up over here at about the same time as yours. Those who weren't sent, ah, er, make that, those who didn't emigrate to here, went to South Africa.

  12. Great post. In my pacifism and anti-conflict modes, sometimes I don't give enough thought to all of the sacrifices people made to get us where we are today. Hey, we have plenty of freaking issues here in America. But we started from a very different place and we didn't get here by mistake.

  13. Sir Charleston…let me see if I have this right. (ahem)
    The French Huguenots, Protestants, came to America,
    a country named by a self-aggrandizing Italian, to protest religious rule by Italians, in France.
    To accomplish this goal they chose to build a Fort some 40 miles north of the known Spanish settlement of St something or other, in north Florida, thus named by the Spaniard Ponce De Leon, in 1513. (ahem approx. 50 years earlier)
    The French Huguenots, knowing that there were Spaniards living in the State, named by Spaniards, and nearly discovered by an Italian, soon learned to keep a rifle in the crapper, thereby leading them to say to male companions “I have to go shoot the shit” *wink*. When looking for time alone.

    Or did I miss something.

  14. My dear Punch... All of that would make sense IF the Spanish were settled here first. The significance of Ft. Caroline is that it was THE FIRST settlement. St. Augustine was settled some two years or so later. See JJ's comment for more.

  15. Ohhhhhuoouuhhhh you French Persons.
    You always want to rewrite history.
    Nothing has ever happened that the French were not there first.
    I fart in your general direction.


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