The papers roll out in large spools of art,
Covered in seas never sailed, and roads rarely ridden.
The crinkle of parchment and the yellowing lines
Add to the intrigue of maps from the past,
With so many errors and sea monsters drawn
To scare away travelers scared of the flat,
Worried they’ll sail right off the edge.
I follow those pathways with fingers untold,
The trails and the tracks that criss-cross the land
And taunt us in ways we hope to undo,
One day we’ll travel down each of those lanes,
Cross all those oceans and see foreign lands.
One last peruse of the beautiful art
And it’s rolled up and hidden, a secret
For someone to discover in years yet to come.
I really love maps and globes, and I couldn’t tell you where that love comes from. It’s not even like I know how to read the things. I literally could not live without my satnav if I’m not to get horribly lost.
But there is just something so magical about a map, and the older the better. The ones that are so old that they have funny creatures drawn in the oceans are my favourite. And the ones that are obviously really inaccurate because the cartographer had no pictures from above to rely on – they’re pretty cool too.
I think that a lot of the time, I like to imagine all the places that I could visit. I’m not particularly well traveled, so I enjoy the dreaming. What would it be like to take a boat ride down the Venetian canals? What would it be like to trek to Machu Picchu?
The people who actually draw these things are the real artists of this world. They are just beautiful to look at and I admire every little detail that is put into the work. I wish that we still had a use for them, but I guess Google Maps is fairly pretty – right?
9 thoughts on “a love of old maps”
I love maps, too, Rachel! Like you, I use the GPS whenever I’m going somewhere new, but I love to look at maps. There’s just something about them that carries history with it. And you’re right about the amount of work it must have taken to create them. And it’s not just work – it has to be precise. That’s something I don’t think I could do.
I am torn over the GPS. I want to hate it, but I am so heavily reliant on it. I would never make it home sometimes if I didn’t have it!
Maps. What a fine thing to be fond of. I don’t have a smart phone (luddite), so I still use the paper maps from time to time. I’m even intrigued by the mischief of maps (made out of paper or electrons)–when they’re wrong, wondering how and why that happened. Have a pleasant, sure-mapped weekend.
Yes, and I’m sure there are many occasions where the errors are made purposely. Perhaps they are diverting us to their favourite pub or beauty spot?
Rachel, I also love maps and after completing my bachelor’s in geography, I considered working in cartography.
Oh, that job would be a dream…
I love maps! Is it weird that I recognize exactly where that photo is a map of, just from the shape of the roads and bodies of water, despite the fact that no city where I have ever lived is represented on that map?
I think that’s pretty cool!
I love maps too, old or new. I’ll look at a map and see the land. When I’m hiking the map always comes with me (which doesn’t stop me getting lost). I assume my love of maps comes from my father. He taught me to map read, something he also taught while in the army