Monday, December 06, 2010
Distant horizons, Emerson, and Alexander Supertramp...
While catching up with some administrative work this morning, I came upon the above words by essayist and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson. I had been reading for awhile and felt my eyes tiring. The words reminded me to take a moment and gaze out though the window and into the gentle woods that surround our home. Focusing on the shimmering green leaves of the arbutus trees, I could feel the weariness in my eyes dissipate.
How true it is. Having "horizons" in life, and being able (and willing) to gaze out upon them, refreshes us and provides renewed energy. Horizons also help us to move from where we are into a greater understanding of ourselves and of the world around us.
In his very moving, non-fiction book, Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer tells the story of young Christopher "Alexander Supertramp" McCandless, who wandered away from mainstream culture and hitch-hiked to Alaska and then walked into the remote "wilds", north of Mt McKinley. The ending is very sad and many have wondered if Chris was a "visionary or a fool". Whatever one may think, the following words, attributed to him, contain a significant element of wisdom:
Those who paddle the lakes or the ocean, walk the shorelines or the forest trails, gaze out over the prairies or to the mountain peaks, will know the experience well. It's "eye candy". The horizons change as the day traverses from dawn to dusk and into the night. In much the same way, the spirit within each of us must surely yearn to be as free...to change, to grow, to explore, and to experience deep joy and meaning.
Perhaps that was, in part, what old Isaiah was talking about when he suggested we could "rise up on wings like eagles, run and not grow weary". I'm thinking so.
Images: The Salish Sea and two of our favourite "distant horizons".