September 27. “The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.” (Ralph W. Stockman)
One of the really cool things about having an insatiable curiosity is that the more I learn, the more I find cool things to learn about. That’s what the beautiful metaphor in this quote is about, and I can surely attest to it in my life.
I have a lot of books in my house. Many of them are novels, but many more are non-fiction works. I love to sit and read, and I really don’t do it as much as I’d like to. When I do read, I find that the more I read, the more I want to know. This summer I read a book that was a Christmas present from my niece called In the Heart of the Sea, by Nathaniel Philbrick. This book chronicles the story of the Essex, a Nantucket whaling boat that was attacked and sunk by a sperm whale in the Pacific in 1819. The story of that sinking, and the amazing tale of how 7 crew members survived, became the inspiration for Herman Melville’s Moby Dick later in the century. I saved the book for vacation because I really love a good adventure book when I am on a long camping trip, and this one was a great choice.
After reading the book I wanted to know more about 19th century tales of nautical survival. My shoreline of curiosity had been widened. The same thing happened when I read Deep Descent, a non-fiction work about the men and women who have dove and died on the wreck of the Andria Doria. My curiosity about shipwreck exploration has been expanded.
I have noted this on many fronts over the years. As I pick up a book and read about a new subject, I find that it unlocks a curiosity for the subject. Sometimes I pursue it further, and the body of knowledge juts out like a tiny peninsula, creating even more shoreline. Sometimes it will stay dormant in the back of my mind as I move to another area to explore.
Today my reflection is on how wonderful it is to learn, and to grow my shoreline of curiosity.