Leif Erikson

"Leif Erikson Discovers America" by Christian Krohg
“Leif Erikson Discovers America” by Christian Krohg

At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be infinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic features, the sea-coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, the thunder-cloud, and the rain which lasts three weeks and produces freshets. We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander.
~ Henry David Thoreau
(Walden)

12 thoughts on “Leif Erikson”

    1. Thank you, Jeff! Thoreau’s words are timeless – human curiosity and the desire to explore the unknown are as old as the hills and yet the same urges have taken us to the moon.

    1. I love the thought that we “need to witness our own limits transgressed.” What a way with words, and this aspect of human nature remains with us to this day.

  1. My father, who was an avid reader, told me that Leif Erikson had been the first to discover America and not Columbus. Do you know if this was ever confirmed? It must have been quite scary on those old ships, traveling through uncharted waters, to who knew where.

    1. I think it is pretty well accepted that Leif Erikson was the first European to “discover” America, and that the ruins of his brief settlement in Vinland are located in what is now Newfoundland in Canada. Of course Native Americans were inhabiting the land long before any European set foot here.

      I was watching a program on TV the other day and learned that there is a movement to change Columbus Day into Exploration Day, a day to honor all explorers, past and present. Sounds like a great idea to me!

      http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7424664n

        1. Rosie, in April 1934 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt made Columbus Day a federal holiday as a gesture to acknowledge the place of Italian immigrants in American history. Interestingly, Columbus never set foot on North America.

      1. L’Anse Aux Meadows is the spot in Newfoundland where artifacts of an ancient Viking settlement can be found. I’ve never been there but often sees the tourist ads on tv. It looks like such a mysterious, wonder-full place.

        However, I don’t know if it’s now, without a doubt, considered to be THE Vinland. Part of me hopes it’s not, as I’ve often wondered if perhaps where I live in Cow Bay Nova Scotia might have been THE Vinland of Viking lore. I often think of that while picking blackberries on a hill overlooking the ocean in late summer.

        1. Me, too, Amy-Lynn – L’Anse Aux Meadows is high on my list of places I would love to vist, even it isn’t the first or the only remains of possible early Viking settlements. And since Tim’s ancestors came from Nova Scotia, we’d love to visit there, too, and have time to enjoy berry-picking and your ocean views.

  2. What a great Thoreau quote. Leif was a very brave explorer- a thousand years ago he had comparatively little technology and knowledge to support his efforts. I think Exploration Day is a great idea!

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