Clouds float over nearby distance, watercraft shrink with perspective, vapor blends multiple blues.
- Any window with a glimpse of sky offers a horizon, although some are building roofs only a few yards away. More traditional horizons are those from a mountaintop or on the beach, where the world ends in unachievable distance. Often in August humidity is high, pollution prevalent, and horizons become lost or blurred beyond a dim bluish line.
- Horizons naturally lead our thoughts to infinity and limits. We perceive an immediate barrier beyond which we cannot see, but we also understand an implied universe of more beyond. This is an interesting contradiction, contraction, tension, or summary of existence itself _ a line between known and unknown, a statement of where our normal world ends.
- For most of us, horizons are of little more than aesthetic value. We empty our thoughts and stare at pretty colors, perhaps picking out shapes in clouds. We vaguely appreciate extensions beyond the vanishing points, but it is too removed to worry about. If we are on the beach, we turn to more exciting local sights, and more immediately demanding concerns like shade and beverage and how much time is left for this particular interlude.
No photograph fully captures what we see; I can hardly recognize this harbor horizon as shown.
- I’m not a bird watcher, so my normal repertoire of waterfowl recognition is gulls, egrets, cormorants, crows, ducks, geese, and an occasional hawk or osprey. Gulls are the least intimidated of the set and often dive-bomb unsuspecting beachgoers trying to snatch a bit of food. Sometimes they act as if they are about to become militant singly or in groups _ a minor version of Hitchcock’s classic.
- What I enjoy as I sit is partially the unpredictable entertainment. However the most entrancing element is demonstration of perspective. A tiny bird down the beach or out on the waves heads towards me and magnifies immensely, suddenly looming huge. Then diminishes quickly to a dot as it swoops away. Reflections on how I regard my own problems _ tiny in the distance, giant when nearby _ is inevitable.
- Then I come to my senses, stop thinking, and simply enjoy the view, all the way to the infinitely far horizon.
Canoes have become rarer than paddleboards and kayaks, all welcome alternatives to powerboats.
- Somewhere, beyond the sea somewhere …
- Romantics experience the unknown as hope.
Reeds fully grown now, preparing grain seeds for next year, beautiful even though invasive in this area.
- Thinking people have long realized the Earth is round, but everyone experiences it as flat. The horizon is the demarcation, in this case, between logic and senses. We may know there is something out beyond the farthest we can see of ground or water, but what is real is all about us, to be touched or smelled or used in some way.
- Unconsciously, I think we carry this over to our perception of time. There is an almost invisible line between now and whatever may be in past and future. Yet we know the past contained more, and assume the future _ whatever future _ will as well.
Late yellow flowers grab their moment and rush to seed as the frantic pace of people during summer ebbs.
- I look across the wide water and see nothing. Below atomic structure, immense eternal energies seethe, in tensions that eventually create the world of molecules we know. I remain ignorant of this infinite battleground all about me.
- I likewise fail to notice the molecules themselves _ gases and water vapor and tiny chunks of every element known to man _ drifting on the wind. I cannot see the miniscule detritus of life such as skin flakes and bits of feather. My eyes fail to record viruses, bacteria, pollen and tiny seeds, arachnids, and insects.
- I stare through the soup and all that registers is that the horizon is clear or fuzzy. All I decide is that the air is clear or somehow stained with vapor or pollution to impede my view. My ignorance of true reality is complete, but nevertheless the horizon I do notice and the effects of the air in between are all I really need to fully exist.
Silver Lace Vine begins to shroud fences and neglected shrubs with a blanket of delicate white blossoms.
“Look at that beautiful sailboat,” my wife exclaims. The sun sparkles brilliantly on crisscrossed waves stirred by an inconstant breeze.
“Sorry,” I say, looking up, “don’t have my glasses on.”
“So you can’t see it at all? Has the horizon vanished?”
“Oh, I see a blur. I know something is there. I just can’t quite make it out.”
“Very peculiar,” she says.
“Not so much. It’s like your problem with reading.”
“I don’t see how that could be the same.”
“You know there are words on a page, for example, you just can’t quite make out the letters.”
“Oh, OK. Well, put your glasses on.”
“I’m looking for them now,” I say. I slip them on and the distant world jumps into focus once more.
Glaring brightness blurs far and near, perhaps a metaphor for mindless meditation.
Perfect Shangri La I think
More lazy crazy hazy days
Far from all the madding crowd
While swarms surround me nearly naked
Contradictions fill my mind
I try escaping into breeze
And for this while, a fleeting calm
Allows ignoring outside worlds.