Contributed by RL
Maybe it’s because I have been watching a little too much of the old pirate movies that I am thinking of treasure. You know the bounty that was liberated from sailing ships in days of yore whose treasures of gold and jewels just seemed to disappear without a trace. Rumors abound of a secret Island and X marks the spot. (https://www.timvandevall.com/printable-treasure-maps-for-kids/)
The story of the lost map that just lays in an old chest in a land lover’s attic whose family has given up the sea for the more passive life of the city dweller. The family legend of ships with tall masts, the salt in the breeze and the call of the seagull fills the stories that put children to sleep at night. It’s a tale of smoke and the slashing of blade to defend a cargo of such secret mystery that only the captain and 1st mate know its true secret for fear of it being liberated by a mutinous crew or pirates who would spare none.
It always starts out at port with the loading of crew and cargo which consist of molasses, spices, pelts, sugar, timber, apples and often with passenger’s fair. A new cabin boy to help the captain is taken aboard to learn the ways of the sea and could be destined someday to be a captain himself. A couple of new crew members are taken aboard for the trip as well with hopes that one may prove to be of worth to stay as a member of the crew. The 1st mate who oversaw the loading of the cargo tells the captain that all is aboard and with the anchor safely stowed away the ship sails into the open sea full of the adventure that waits.
Of course it is not all lying about on recliners and sun bathing it’s a lot of work to keep a ship that is constantly in water from going to rot. Part of the crew is about scrubbing the decks while others are mending ropes and sails. Then there is the training of what needs to be done in storms or emergencies and how to repel pirates which are always about. And, of course, the cook is checking the emergency supplies to make sure all is ready in case they have to abandon ship for who wants no food for their crew in a time of distress which will make things worse.
From the watch on top of the mast in the crow’s nest the lively look-out spots a sail on the horizon. He sounds the alarm and the crew’s blood runs cold, how could this be so soon after leaving port. (https://www.history.com/news/8-real-life-pirates-who-roved-the-high-seas) Maybe it is just another ship leaving port to make delivery of its goods but alas, time tells, it is bearing down constantly on our little ship in the waters of this cold sea.
Crew and captain stand too and prepare for what lies ahead. Knowing that they are probably out gunned for they are only a merchant ship and the ship chasing them plainly now can be seen flying the pirate flag and has her deck guns ready to fire. Almost two to one the captain is sure so he makes his play to head for shore in hopes of getting help. A roar is heard and a splash is seen to the port of the ship as the pirate ship continues to draw closer firing its canon from its bow.
Several shots from the bow gun have disabled a set of sails on our ship but captain and crew are determined to make landfall to save themselves and the ship if possible. Both ships are firing now with smoke rising deep and black from our little cargo ship which is so gallantly trying to fly to the safety of land while drawing also a slight hit on the ship waving the skull and cross bones from it mast. (https://study.com/academy/lesson/the-golden-age-of-piracy-timeline-facts-ships.html)
But alas with most of the top sail now on the deck our ship looks like it has seen the last of her sailing days. With a good part of the crew sporting bandages from the barrage of fire coming from the pirate ship which now looms massively to starboard and just a little behind as it tries to cut our flight to the shore. Yet the pounding of the surf is plainly heard in the ear of each crew member bringing hope and fear.
From off in the distance another sail is seen, a frigate maybe, coming lightly and quickly but will they be soon enough? Not for us to venture because of the rocks that have appeared and the foaming waves have diverted our attention to a more pressing urgency; survival! For the fight has brought us to land and not to the safety of harbor but of broken ships on rock and shoal. The pirate ship has heaved too and is running scared with the frigate in chase, leaving us and our ship to its obvious fate. But a crew well trained for a time like this; have already unleashed the lifeboats filled with provisions. Not a man was lost but the ship and its cargo along with the captain has vanished without a trace. But in a trunk in an attic so high will be found a map of a treasure buried, so long ago, on a shore where rocks break the water into foam and salt spray to sting the eye. (I think this would be a great time for some homemade cookies and hot chocolate don’t you.)
Today there are many who search for these lost treasures in the oceans of the sea. Some ships went down due to storms and some, of course, by pirates and then again there were some ships that just ran into some rocks off of a shore. But treasures will always abound for the seeker. (https://www.history.com/news/6-famous-missing-treasures)
Each of us would love to search for a lost treasure, the excitement, and the visions of wealth untold. In reality each of us has a treasure untold in time that we spend with family and friends. It may not bring us wealth untold but memories of playing broom hockey with a child or grandchild that’s priceless. I hope that we can always seek after the right treasure in our lives. ‘Till next time RL