Saturday, September 25, 2010
If Only We Knew What We Do Not Know
Oh, the things we do not know...
A few years ago I was fortunate to be able to visit Provence for 10 days. I was charmed by the sights and sounds and buildings and colors and people and colors and scents and flavors and colors and the language. And I really liked the colors. If I could, I would spend my summers languishing in the French countryside, wearing long dresses (sometimes with an apron), picking lavender and sunflowers, cooking and eating foods at their peak of freshness, sipping local wines, and practicing the music of its phrases. And the colors...
As you might imagine, I took lots of pictures, and never once thought about, much less regretted, not having photos of some white horses -- until this morning. During that trip, I was part of a 15-person tour, and all along realized our guide was lacking in providing educational information. On the way to a particular destination she said the region was known for salt, horses, and bulls. She said little else about the area. We drove past some white horses without much ado. I don't believe anyone was taking pictures of them. I don't believe anyone knew ... But this morning I read:
...The wild horses of the Camargue form a distinct breed. Known as Camargue, it is one of the oldest breeds in the world. In fact, they are believed to have descended from the prehistoric horses, which lived during the Paleolithic period, around 17,000 years ago. The Camargue are born a dark brown or black color, but turn white around the fourth year. The breed is used to manage the bull herds of the marshland. Because of their natural environment Camargue horses thrive in Sea water. They are often called "the horse of the sea". Here is the link to the full article:
How upsetting to realize I did not appreciate what I was seeing. These horses were born dark and turned white after 4 years. They were direct descendants of prehistoric horses. They thrive in sea water. She should have told us! Or maybe even she, who had guided that same tour twice per year for several years, didn't know. It's a pity either way.
So I'm wondering this morning about all the things around us that would be more fascinating if only we knew more about them. Just imagine wanting to photograph bananas and fountain pens and cracks in the sidewalk. What about a close-up study of a spider web, a snail, a pinecone, old lace, tree bark, lichen, a sand dollar, an antique jar? How about the neighbor who rarely speaks, but if we knew something about her story.... (Everyone has a story.)
It is said that some things we know we know. Some things we know we don't know. And some things we don't know that we don't know.
So, where to start?
Where to start today?
So many things.
So little time.