- 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.
- 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.
- Somewhere, beyond the sea somewhere …
- Romantics experience the unknown as hope.
- 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.
- 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.
“I’m looking for them now,” I say. I slip them on and the distant world jumps into focus once more.