Well, sort of. Jimfest wonders why take a spring break if I get so blue when I return. Well, we do lots of things for pleasure that leave us a bit melancholy when they come to an end, that's why. And, as Babs has noted, the weather here doesn't help, though today the sun is trying to peek through, adding a silvery glare to the monochromatic muck all around us. It's inspiring me to go remove the winter garland, which now looks like the under-arm fur of an orangutan, from our long corner fence.
But first, a light load of wash. It gets better, read on.
In Key West there are lots of museums featuring the history of the area, from the literary bad (and not so bad) boys and girls who called it home, to the salvaging of shipwrecks which provided its early wealth.
In the more commercial, yet info-packed, museum dedicated to Mel Fisher's successful quest to find the Atocha, the treasure-laden Spanish galleon that sank in 1622, I came across a plaque describing what was happening to the Spanish empire at that time.
I've copied it in below. Anyone else get that -- sinking feeling?
Spain was seemingly at the peak of its power in 1622. After years of virtually unimpeded commerce with the American colonies, widespread control of much of Europe, and the possession of a distant but influential colony in the Philippines, Spain was easily the most powerful nation on earth.
But trouble was looming. Wars with emerging or rebellious
European territories seemed never-ending and English and Dutch privateers preyed on Spanish ships. In 1618, the Thirty Years War began, which pitted Catholic against Protestant in the German states. Spain strongly supported the Catholic cause with money and troops. Also, Spain had a large noble and aristocratic class who commanded huge incomes, but, to no one's advantage but their own, were exempt from taxation.
The steady flow of silver from America made it easy to believe that the good times would never end. The reality was that the Spanish crown was spending more than it was bringing in. Foreign creditors, mostly bankers from Italy and Germany, filled the gap, and kept the crown afloat. These creditors were also the first in line when the treasure galleons arrived in Seville, and they took much of it out of the country almost immediately. For all it was worth, the sliver's economic benefits were felt elsewhere other than Spain.
Though it had an unrivalled, shining outward appearance, economically, Spain was rotting on the inside, and would soon begin to crumble. The disaster of 1622 only served to speed this process.
At least they didn't take the whole globe down with them.