Liberty or Loyalty?

Pre Revolutionary Flag

When we visited Colonial Williamsburg recently, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wondered if an historical site that pertains to the American Revolution would have any meaning to me. It did.

After our arrival, we signed up for an orientation walk. The guide introduced us to Colonial Williamsburg and gave us the latest news – from spring 1775. At the end, she asked us: “Liberty or loyalty?”

I thought this was a very interesting question, because as a Canadian (and yes, Canada did exist as another British colony at that time), I leaned towards loyalty. But as someone in the the midst of a revolutionary city, I could see the case for liberty as well. So this was a decision that could not be made lightly.

We continued to visit the sights and talk with the people of Colonial Williamsburg (in the guise of costumed interpreters), hearing their stories and concerns, but this did not make my decision any easier. There were parades, notably a fife and drum corps, that although young, was very good. They had all the visitors marching right alongside as they wound their way up Duke of Gloucester Street to the Palace Green.

Our visit concluded with a talk given by George Washington (another actor interpreter), who made a logical, reasoned and passionate speech as to why the Colonies were taking the position they were. This gave me a feel for what drove the patriots to take the course they did. After the talk, he answered questions from visitors. His answers were true to the time and often not what we, with our modern sensibilities, would expect.

Now, for the answer to liberty or loyalty. Ultimately, Canada never joined the American colonies in their revolution against Britain. So, by birth, I am a loyalist; but who knows, if I had lived at the time, I might have made a different decision.

Ice Age Ancestor

Me with a Short-Faced Bear
Me with a Short-Faced Bear

Yesterday, i visited the George C. Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles with Gregory & Dorothy.

Since i am adopted, i have a keen interest in genealogy. I was able to see some of my ancient ancestors at the museum.

A skeleton of a Short-Faced Bear was on display. It was interesting to learn that this bear was as big as a horse, nearly twice the size of today’s grizzly bear.

The guides at the museum were very nice and mentioned that there was a bear outside on the grounds that i could have my picture taken with.

It was a great visit to the Page Museum and i am looking forward to my next adventure.

The La Brea Tar Pits

Columbia Mammoth caught in the tar pits

Ever since I was a little kid I’ve been fascinated by the mega fauna (big animals) that lived before and during the last Ice Age. These animals were similar but much bigger and in some cases vastly different to the animals we are used to seeing. Today I got my chance to visit the most prolific site for Ice Age mega fauna fossils yet discovered.

The¬†La Brea tar pits are located in downtown Los Angeles, only a few blocks from Beverly Hills. They are referred to as tar pits; however, they are not actually pits but shallow seeps of asphalt that bubble up from an underground reservoir. The asphalt began to reach the surface about 30,000 years ago and that’s when the animals in the area began to get trapped in the sticky goo. Once an animal became stuck, its fate was sealed. While major entrapment events only occurred about once a decade, they account for the millions of fossils at the site.

Paleontologists are still actively working at the site and discovering new fossils every day. The current dig has yielded the most complete Columbian Mammoth skeleton to date and the only complete tusk ever found. If you visit in the summer, you can even see an active dig underway in the observation pit.

The museum is a great place to get acquainted with the animals that roamed North America and the Los Angeles area more than 10,000 years ago.