It's never too late to learn something new, something fun, something different. This week I got a lesson in how silk is made. I attended the exhibit, The Silk Road, which is currently showing at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. It was a fascinating exhibit for a number of reasons.
First, the history lesson was an important reminder about learning and re-learning our world's history. Like so many people I learned my general world history way back in high school though I studied a few more specific areas during college. But every time I visit one of these types of exhibits (such as Genghis Khan, or about Pompeii or the Mayan empire) it's like going back to school again, and I love learning new things or re-learning old things. That's why I enjoy these exhibits so much.
This one reminded me about the various trade routes from the Far East, through the Middle East and then to Europe. I also spent a few minutes learning about how the various wares were traded all along the route, bringing things like silk, tea and gun powder, or trading for goods like seeds, emeralds and paper as the merchants travelled.
But for me the fun was learning about how silk was discovered and made. Imagine being the woman who dropped a silkworm cocoon into a steaming cup of tea and pulling it out as one thin, long strand of strong fiber that shimmers. Beautiful. I also got a lesson in how to wind the dry the fiber and then how it was woven into beautiful robes that were traded to merchants.
The whole process and the idea of trade along the entire Silk Road was fascinating. It made me want to learn more about the various items that were traded (like emeralds ). The experience also had me re-thinking a character in a book and making her come from the Far East. Or making another character a professor of Middle Eastern languages.
So here's a toast to continuing education... and learning more about the Silk Road. I wasn't able to make it to China, but I did make it to PF Changs for one of my favorite dinners with a good friend and a glass of bubbly.