“Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.” – Maya Angelou
SAY YOU’RE A SPANISH CONQUISTADOR LIVING IN BARCELONA in the early 1500’s. Candle wax is more expensive than oil. Maybe you like the taste of salt, but you may never taste black pepper in your lifetime; it is too expensive. Coffee will not reach Spain for another hundred years or so. But you will be one of the first Europeans to eat chocolate, perhaps believing it possesses magical powers—which as we all now know, it does. You will sail away from the turbulence of the Atlantic Ocean and discover another calmer (seemingly calmer) ocean and name it Pacifico.
Your country and its many neighbors have been perfecting the art of war for centuries, actually for millennia, now—men have always been men. Your body armor is made of artistically-crafted steel. Your sword is the original double-edged sword and crafted by artisans of the finest, hardened Toledo steel, which can smash a helmet or, in just a few minutes, kill 15 Inca warriors wielding Stone and Bronze-Age weapons.
You gather a handful of desperate men harboring few morals. You give them sleeping hammocks on your ship. You give them sea biscuits to eat and grog to drink. You hand them weapons as fine as yours and offer them a portion of the plunder. You are all the kind of men who literally have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Most of you are probably illiterate and the illegitimate bastards of men with noble blood, old money, and untethered cod pieces. Your ship is maybe a large caravel with a single deck and three masts, maybe 60 feet long, about the size of a modern-day millionaire’s yacht or the Santa Maria sailed by Columbus. Perhaps you load horses, fine Andalusians and the more rugged Sorraias, onto your ship. You stabilize them with quilted elk-skin slings for the journey to God only knows where, and you set sail for a new world, nothing but gold and blood in your eye.
You discover the atavistic Incas, you hear stories of El Dorado and The Lost City of Gold. You smile and unsheathe your weapons. You charge your Andalusian mare into battle, raking her flanks with finely-crafted spurs appearing more like modern sculptures meant for a museum than equestrian tack. You die, maybe by the lucky strike from a young Inca warrior’s slingshot. You leave behind the legacy of your spurs, proof of a life lived hard, and well.
Something like five-hundred years later, perhaps someone believing in past lives recognizes them for what they are in a Cuzco antique shop and is willing to pay the inflated price for your spurs—imagining them as the piece of fine art they have now become in this lifetime.
You can find other entries in the DP Photo Challenge here: Life Imitates Art
View other entries in Sally’s iPhoneography Challenge here: iPhone Challenge