Da Vinci

The practice of quarantine, first began during the 14th century in an effort to protect coastal cities from the plague. Ships arriving from infected ports, really any port, were required to sit at anchor for forty days before being allowed to land. The word quarantine, was derived from the Italian words quaranta giorni which mean forty days. That’s a lot longer time to wait than the two-weeks we are now asked to endure in quarantine due to the corona virus.

Just before we entered into quarantine and the rest of the world also locked itself down, we visited the Saint Louis Science Center. The featured exhibit there was on Leonardo Da Vinci. This traveling exhibit had visited Saint Louis before and we happened upon it then, quite by accident, when we had been bicycling around the downtown one day. Then it was on display in the lobby of a bank building. There was only one guy running it and we were its only visitors at the time. I think that this show is better suited to that venue and is not worthy of the science center. It is a history exhibit without any artifacts. Every single one of the items on display are replicas. Actually, they are even less than that. Most of these items that were supposedly invented by Da Vinci, were really only just sketched by him. From these drawings the purveyors of this show have gone on to fashion their interpretation of what they would look like in real life. I was so unimpressed by this exhibit that I have not bothered to write about it until now, but since we are still under quarantine and not much else is happening, news of it has finally bubbled to the surface. I guess that it is just a slow news day.

Reef Bay Petroglyphs

Reef Bay Petroglyphs

When we hiked the ranger led Reef Bay trail on St. John’s in the Virgin Islands, one of the sights that we saw were the petroglyphs. They were on a side trail, from the main one, where there were spring fed pools. Carved into the rocks were various images and symbols that we studied while eating lunch. The ranger wet the rocks to make them easier to see. The face on the left is supposed to be that of a bat and has been used as a logo by various island businesses. Most famously by the once luxurious, but now defunct resort Caneel Bay. Wiped out by a combination of twin hurricanes and bad business practices, this resort was underinsured and couldn’t afford to rebuild. The resort’s proprietor was also a tenant of the US Government and was left stranded, without sufficient time left on its lease to profitably rebuild the resort. The Native Americans who carved these petroglyphs are believe to have done so around 1300 AD. These people had already departed by the time that Western explorers arrived on the island. In another year or two the existing Caneel Bay lease will expire and a new outfit can come in and restore that place to its former glory.

For our walk today, we drove over to Tower Grove Park. If Forest Park is the front yard of Saint Louis, then Tower Grove is its backyard. Similar to what the city has done in Forest Park, where roads have been closed to cars, all of Tower Grove Park is now car-free. It being a Monday, the park was not very crowded and with its trails plus the empty roads, there was plenty of room to spread out. Once around the park was almost the perfect number of steps for us.