You can never presume that you know how things were done in the past. Never. Take something ordinary like skiing.
You’ve been watching the Olympics, or perhaps you actually ski. I used to. So I know how to do it. And most likely how it was done 120 years ago. I mean, it’s skiing.
Or do you?
Because as much as you think you know a thing, you’ll be researching along and come to a picture that sets all your beliefs, your descriptions of skiing on their ear. Drops you in a snowbank, on your head and laughs at your presumption.
So before you write:
Badger hefted his pack to his back and picked up his poles before he skied down the road.
You might want to have a look at Badger and his one pole.
But that’s just an anomaly, one might say. And I would have thought that as well. Until a few more photos into my research . . .
Rotten little whippersnapper and his ONE pole.
And then you come up against a whole long line of evidence that argues with everything you thought you knew. I mean, when even the ladies have only one pole, you got to know that is how a thing was done.
Yes, yes, I give up. One pole.
(Thank you to the Grand Encampment Museum for their gracious hospitality as I’ve been researching my upcoming book. Permission to use these pictures from their wonderful collection has been graciously given for the use on this blog. Any further use should done by contacting the GEM.)