July 20, 2010
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I’ve never understood why people call it the ocean blue, because the sea is nothing but green, in the sun, a sparkling green, and deep, brooding green on cloudy days. It was even green during storms, just so dark, it’s taken as black. Yes, water is an artist’s best dream and his worst nightmare. A dream for its beauty, a nightmare for the complexity of its beauty, and even if the artist gets it right, water is most beautiful as it moves. I thought of this as I was staring off the starboard side of my ship, thinking. You see, “land ho” had just sounded from the nest and I had just caught my first glimpse of the so called New World. It suddenly dawned on me that I would be the fellow telling these folks how to run things. I was only an artist, I have no qualifications of a leader! Besides, I’d been preoccupied any way, as my daughter was eight months pregnant! I had rested by hopes on her husband to take care of her. I had had no taste of leadership then, and the cold of the winter was creeping its way into my heart.

But now, that I had a week's worth of hands-on practice, and a daughter that wasn’t pregnant, and a healthy granddaughter by the way, the first born in the New World. Me and the one hundred other settlers had left for England soon after our first landing because the winter was too cold, but now we where back and I once again was sobered by the “land ho” call. It only took half an hour more to reach land. I started giving orders to find food and water, and pitch tents. We could start building houses tomorrow. I couldn’t help thinking that this would be easier this time around. The beauty of the place was different than when I'd been here before, it seemed, How can the streams be so clear? How can the color of the leaves be so bright a green? How could everything be so pure? It was a goldmine of inspiration and beauty, and try as I may, I could neither capture the beauty of one vista, nor get an accurate sample of the amount of beautiful things to capture in my pencil sketches. In the morning we started chopping down trees and laying them in piles to be built into houses. I drew pictures of the event in my notebook. His, at least, I could draw competently. We got enough trees in the first day to build one half of the houses we needed. We slept in the tents again that next night. The next morning we finished wood collection and decided to take the afternoon off to enjoy the island. Some people still decided to go hunting just to boost our stores. We slept well and happy that night, despite the uncomfortable ground. Over the next week and four days we built all of the houses, thanks to nonstop work and good meat and fruits. I was happy with everyone, and gave them all the choice to build their roof the next day and hopefully sleep in their houses that night, or take the day off tomorrow. I decided to pitch in with the roof building, and ten of the sixteen houses had roofs on the fifteenth day and the other six by the sixteenth day on Roanoke. This was lucky because on our seventeenth day, at a quarter to noon, a huge rainstorm broke out, but we were just fine thanks to the well built houses. Even the rain was beautiful here, the rain cascaded from leaves, and ran in vein-like rivulets into the ocean, where other raindrops drummed the the surface. Never had such music been heard, and never had I wished so badly that I could draw sound. At best I could sketch some scenes, but they were meager and pale in comparison to experiencing it. After four days of simply hunting we decided to build a meeting area in the center of town. I was happy for a chance to draw, instead of lead. I let the people decide what they wanted in the area, and sketched it to give us a general idea of what it would look like. Contrary to our plans, some hunters came back empty handed and terrified. Something was very wrong by the looks on their faces. They explained they had seen the Indians that Columbus had described. I desperately hoped that we would not be attacked, because I didn't have warriors, I had woodsmen and carpenters in my group. We, of course, knew we weren’t in India, but the incorrect name stuck, because, we had no other name for them. We abandoned our meeting house plans to build a wall. In the first week we had twenty foot beams, every five to six feet and were planning to lay fifteen foot poles in the middle. An odd sickness resulted in half of the workers unable to work and building slowed. I drew some of the symptoms, red nose, itchy red spots and circles under the eyes. Eight died of the infection, but even though the rest survived, the construction of the wall had taken four months. Despite this, we lived there happily for four more years. I was able to sketch freely most of the time, and I loved it. I might not have been able to capture every small detail of beauty, but I was as close as humanly possible. I left for England to bring back more. Delays caused me to get back three years after I left. This was immensely frustrating, I knew that Roanoke needed supplies, but pompous royalty and politics kept me an ocean away. When I got back I found nothing in the village but empty houses and a carving on a wall post that said: CROATOAN. I know my group had gone to the Croatoan Island, and with no struggle, for there was no cross over the word, our sign for danger. I saw no foot steps in the sand or such, so I assumed they had left a while ago. I ran to the ship and told the crew what I’d found. They said a storm was coming and it would be awhile until we could sail to the island because of the weather, and we may not make it because of the rocks. I waited weeks to get to the island, and then I found no one. There was no sign of people.

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