06 Nov New Horizons
The sound of the ocean water breaking on the shore never ceases.
The horizon continues endlessly further beyond our gaze. Even when we think we’ve met its end, it retreats further, and a new horizon appears.
Isn’t that the way it is with life?
The color of the ocean remains in perennial flux, part of the sky and the rain and the sun and the earth. There is no end to what the ocean can be.
I stand on the shore with my feet in the clear water, watching it gather and swirl and crest as the tide pushes and pulls. The sky is misty and white and the ocean is the color of steel, a dark aquamarine.
Like time, it’s incredible to think that the ocean has never stopped moving. At least on the surface. Maybe somewhere out there in the unimaginable depths of darkness, time has stopped. Can we disprove that another world exists?
There’s a beauty in not knowing something about our own planet — life takes place in that unknown space.
The wondering, the curiosity, the possibility — that sustains us.
I watch people pass from my seat in the sand, going somewhere, living their lives, enjoying a brief respite from the day by digging their heals in the sodden earth and feeling the cold water surround their ankles to wash away and return to those unimaginable, black depths.
Why do we do what we do? What brings us joy, content, fulfillment?
Is it reaching the end goal, knowing what’s out there; or is it the mindset of the chase?
“All things that are, are with more spirit chased than enjoyed,” wrote William Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice. Four-hundred and sixteen years ago, Shakespeare was dropping nonstop wisdom.
We’ve always been human, attempting to make sense of our time. There is no way to make sense of it; that is beautiful to me. But we can learn from our past — we can learn from those who challenged modern thought and created a new reality.
That’s what Shakespeare did. That’s what the Stoic philosophers of ancient Greece and Rome did, who sought to never let their outer world dictate their inner world.
That’s a challenge worth dedicating your life to.
Ward Farnsworth quotes Seneca in The Practicing Stoic:
The philosopher Attalus used to say: it is more pleasant to make a friend, than to have one. As it is more pleasant to the artist to paint, than to have painted. When one is busy and absorbed in one’s work, the very absorption affords great delight. But when one has withdrawn one’s hand from the completed masterpiece the pleasure is not so keen. Now it is the fruit of the art which he enjoys, when it was the art itself that he enjoyed while he was painting.
I beg to disagree with Attalus about the friend bit! But I believe this is a message to truly cherish the season of life that we’re in, no matter what it is.
I wonder why I do what I do — why I write, why I ask these questions. Maybe I don’t really want to know the answers. The answers won’t make me happy.
I’m happy sitting on the beach with my trusty and slightly rusty pen in hand, looking into the white and cloudy sky, wondering.
Sometimes we just need to take the pressure off. Makes life a bit simpler.
The ocean waves break not to rest, but to rise. The orange cliffs behind me look as if faces have been carved by the passage of time; hikers walk on them and meander down to the beach — the frontier of earth and the Pacific.
I haven’t been in the ocean in weeks. The water tosses me around as I dive under; there’s nobody around. I drive my arms through the sloshing waves to keep warm.
My spirit ignites.
In the cold, my mind can’t run, nor am I thinking about what might be or what the future may entail. I look back at the shore, at the orange and ancient cliffs, at those walking by, at my blue towel.
This moment is everything, fam.
I return to the beach as a new person. My mindset has changed, my body has changed, my spirit feels as if it’s going to burst.
We’re here, we’re alive, living the meaning of life.