HOW YOUR LIFE IMITATES ART: Finally, a short read

“Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.” – Maya Angelou

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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.

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Spurs & stirrup taken with iPhone 6

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.

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Spurs in the Badfish den. Badfish in bokeh. Bokeh is cool…it shows no wrinkles.

 

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

102 comments

    • Darlene, thanks for stopping by and hanging out and commenting. So glad you liked the story. It was kind of fun writing…don’t really know where all that came from.

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  1. “Most of you are probably illiterate and the illegitimate bastards of men with noble blood, old money, and untethered cod pieces” A great summing up of Pizarro’s plundering riffraff, BF. And as for the untethered cod pieces, well, blimey! I anyway like the dark twists and undercurrents in this post, though could expect nothing less from a really bad fish.

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    • Yes, here I am finally…got tied up with the balls and chains of life. I have been to Spain, love it. And yes, the spurs are mine…I bought them in Cuzco, Peru. I just loved the feel of them and the story they could tell if they could tell it.

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  2. Ah art. It is personal. It is in the eye of the beholder. As a painter/artist I am never surprised by how differently a group of people will react to any specific art work. Personally I don’t paint for my interest in the end result, am way more interested in the process. Some people want paintings that match their furniture, and others want works that challenge them visually or emotionally.

    Interesting thought provoking post. Life imitates art. Art imitates life.

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    • I wanted to be an artist when I was a kid. I got into trouble in school for drawing in class and not paying attention. But later, I didn’t want to be a “starving artist” so I studied business. And have been starving for art all my life!

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    • Glad you liked it, lady! Feels good to be back on the page (er…cyberpage). I’ve missed writing, missed you guys commenting more, though! Did the Big D like the part about “untethered cod pieces”?

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      • I read it to him, but we’re still wondering how in the world you got “Cod pieces” out of THAT, if THAT’S what it means! 😀 He was fascinated with your little story. He’s always wondered about El Dorado. We did, however, miss the Dreamworks movie “The Road to El Dorado!”

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        • He wants to know why they’re called “cod pieces!” Or did you just make that up? LOL (Seriously, Fim had to explain to me what the heck you were talking about. ^^’ You’re talking to an extremely sheltered person here. Cup protector I would have got. But then I don’t suppose they wore under britches then to tuck ’em into! 😀 )

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          • Hahaha! Well, you know…I just don’t know why they call them “cod” pieces. Maybe it was a euphemistic term back when they wore them? No wait…I just checked. The word “cod” is the Middle English word for bag (scrotum), so it’s the piece that covers that…so yeah, maybe a euphemism. Wikipedia says its like something to “exagerate” that area, which some may have done. It’s probably like driving a Ferrari these days…to compensate.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. *happy dancing* first, that you’re here! But second, that your story brought me to a very different ending… where the young Inca, and the armored Conquistador, are fight to the death, neither willing to give up, and fall to the ground, both unable to lift themselves up. It is past dusk, and from the bushes a woman emerges, and decides that both have been worthy opponents, and brings both across… to a new life, albeit, an undead life, and charges them with the task of saving innocents from the darkness which lies within those of Her kind…

    Oh yes, you’ve told a wonderful tale, and inspired many a story of other-worldliness.

    *stops dancing* Sorry, I got carried away. Still, LOVED your tale and photos!

    Great to see you here! Even if for a moment.

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    • I hope you are keeping copies of your comments, because you could publish them as a book of poetry. You sort of get into some other-worldly head space and just truck on down the road to some place most of us can follow!!

      who’s that woman? where does she take them?

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      • I believe, Badfish, she takes them to the lake where El Dorado, the Gilded One, jumped in as an annual ritual to the Sun.
        El Dorado, you see, was a human – a man acutally, in the king lineages, and they painted him with gold flakes every year and he jumped into the lake. with a little thing called a Sundisc.

        Just which Lake, I’m not sure.

        It’s true, google it! 🙂
        and ps, welcome back, and also, does ‘bokeh’ mean outa focus?
        ( the sun disc is the only thing i made up here, truly. )

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  4. Beautiful shot of those spurs and I may have to steal the bokeh selfie approach; I could use an inexpensive wrinkle elimination strategy! You have a great way of entering another time and place with your words. I felt both seasick and annoyed by the centuries-old bloodlust, all while sitting right here in my chair in the present. Those are both compliments!

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    • The shot was an early morning, sun low in the sky, natural light shot. These days…it’s bokeh selfie or no selfie!!!
      Sorry you felt annoyed and seasick, but thanks for the compliments!!! Are you back now…at work at last? I’m already in Week 5…and pulling hair.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, BF, my life has imploded! This would have been week 5 coming up for me, but I had to resign suddenly in week 3! My mother got terribly ill with an uncommon condition, my husband was told his new job halfway across the country started the next week, and I ended up apartment hunting in the latter city (DC) then flying directly to my mom in coastal Georgia and am still stuck here. (Stuck sounds negative; I love my mom and want to stay, but this is the worst possible time!) But this will eventually pass and I will be happily blogging away on frivolous travel topics again!

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  5. What a fun post, as usual, you always bring the uniqueness of culture – well done!!
    PS: You should try the selfie mode..no wrinkles guaranteed – well, perhaps if you use Samsung android phone 😉

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    • HA!! I’m sticking to the bokeh in the background mode for selfies!!! The iPhone is my first smart phone, I resisted them for years. I don’t know if one is any better than the others, but I do know that stuff for the iPhone is VERY expensive!!

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    • Alison, I have never taught history, but I have a deep affection for it. I love reading about things people did so long ago…and to discover what they did, how they did it. It always amazes me that we have actually not come too far today, I mean, people hundreds of years ago were doing what we do now. We just do it faster, or meaner.
      Like we say: bokeh is better!

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  6. Great story with a real ring of truth to it. Oh those wicked spurs, pity the poor horse they were used on. And you leave us with a thought, in a 100 years or more, just what will people treasure from our era. Being a throw away society maybe not much left to treasure.

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    • Yeah, I know what you mean, I used to own a couple horses…never even thought about putting on a pair of spurs (although maybe should have on one of them because he was a gelding who never quite believed that he wasn’t still a stallion).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Aloha Mr. Badfish…loved this one, once again, the residual energy left behind in the spur and stirrup…I bet you can just feel it, strange conquering, fear, excitement… very cool as usual. I HAVE to use that selfie mode thing…neat way to get yourself in there!

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  8. I liked the dramatic flair of your description, but I’m sure it’s not a description that would have matched any of my ancestors. I very much doubt any of them were of noble blood and I’m almost certain their cod pieces were properly tethered except at officially sanctioned moments.

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  9. Bring on the Bokeh I say! I could use a serious dose. Nice to see a photo of you Badfish, well sort of. You exist and are not just some marvelous ghost writer. 🙂 I enjoyed your eloquent description and of course the souvenirs you bring home make my ‘carry on only luggage rules’ twitch at the thought. 🙂

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  10. Every one of these images is a masterpiece Mr Badfish. Nice to see you make an appearance in the third one. The history lesson contained herein makes me very happy to live now instead of then.

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  11. Welcome Back, Badfish. You are totally excused by having to deal with that little thing called life by the appearance of this spur of a post. Right outa left field, had me hooked from the first line. I actually just read and re-read that first line for a while, to savour it, before going on to more reading joys. And then there’s the comments. The Chippies never cease to fail, do they? Thanks for dropping by and doing a spot of virtual shopping in Shanghai, else I wouldnt know there were spurs to die for, and reincarnate for, here at Badfish Outa Water. WordPress still stuffing up my notifications.

    oh, and quilted elk-skin slings? Okay, I’m in! 🙂

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  12. Hi there dear Badfish…. being my country a spanish colony, long time ago… I could totally recognize the facts and even identify the main features of this spanish character… On a side note: Argentina became independent in 1810—-
    I liked the way you highlighted two of the still most famous myths concerning ancient Latin America, meaning the cities of El Dorado and The Lost City of Gold…
    I´d say you have written a great short story my friend… Great job…
    Sending love and best wishes. Aquileana ⭐

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  13. Great story, Badfish. What an imagination you have. Love the photos, especially the no-wrinkle Bokeh. I was given a large box of Godiva dark truffle chocolates last week. It’s still unopened, but hubby and I may test out it’s magical qualities this evening. 🙂

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  14. I’m a big fan of cool spurs and these are lovely. Although I’ve never worn spurs, there are times when, used judiciously and carefully, they are a boon to a rider with a recalcitrant horse! These would look great with the branding irons on our hearth or the pair of spurs hanging in the dining room. 🙂

    janet

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  15. Badfish, this is one of my favourite posts from you so far. The way you imagine and narrate the story behind these spurs is utterly compelling, poetic and full of humour. The part about being illiterate with untethered cod pieces was especially memorable – when I met Madhu in November she mentioned how funny you were! When the post first popped up in my inbox I was wondering if that guy in the last photo was you… even in bokeh you look very wise.

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  16. Lovely bit of imagination and story here. I would love to be that person to taste chocolate for the very first time. I’m a milk chocolate kind of person. As for white chocolate…that really isn’t chocolate, let’s all admit it 😀 The Lost City of Gold? Now, where in the world is that? I could spend a lifetime looking for it 😀

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