Something about boundaries.

(Ten to go. I’ve made it this far; quitting is not an option.)

Here’s the deal: I’ve been working on a post, off an on today, and it’s not finished, and I’m tired. So, I’ll finish it tomorrow. Because sleep matters to me, and that’s a firm boundary.

But I’ll offer a placeholder, something I’ve had in the “hold” file for a long time that honestly doesn’t need much writing to go along with it.

In the late 1930s and early 1940s, a geologist and cartographer named Harold Fisk drew a series of maps illustrating the dynamic and ever-changing Lower Mississippi Valley region. These maps, published in 1944, are generally referred to as “Fisk’s Meander Maps,” and they’re astonishingly beautiful.

They’re also in the public domain, and available for you to save, print, use, and treasure. I’ve had them printed and given the prints as graduation gifts. I’ve turned them into cards. I just love looking at them and think you might, too. They tell the story of a river that is unlike any other.

From the Public Domain Review:

Technically speaking, all of these maps represent the lower Mississippi’s “meander belt” — the area of a valley bottom across which the river’s channel has shifted over the millennia. The meander belt of the Mississippi — which has the third largest watershed in the world — is immense. To represent all the water’s many shifts within this belt, Fisk hit on the brilliant idea of using overlapping colors. The current course of the river (current, that is, in 1944) is represented by a mighty blank, punctuated by islands, and crisscrossed by the serpentine green course of 1880, the salmon-pink course of 1820, and the light blue course of 1765. In addition to these relatively recent courses, one can see the color-coded traces of where the river flowed even earlier — a writhing palimpsest of meanders stretching back to prehistoric times.

You can download high resolution files of the whole Meander Map set at Radical Cartography. Once you’ve saved the files (Note: they’re very large files), you can print them yourself, or send them to a professional printer and then frame and display them.

Again, these beautiful works of research and art are in the public domain. They’re yours and mine, to have and to hold. How great is that?

And now, good night.

This post is 47/56 in a self-directed challenge to write (or at least post) something (SOMETHING) every day – a birthday gift to me from me, because writing gives me a place to put the clutter that lives in my head.