I mentioned yesterday that I recently spent an evening sitting on a fire escape and thinking as the sun went down.
It had been a long, ridiculously hot, day and it was a relief to know that I didn’t have to walk any farther or do anything else until the next morning. The top step was quite a good vantage point and I gazed out over the town.
Perhaps it was the heat that had me longing for the beach. Certainly the horizon seemed to mock me with a view of the coast just a little too far away to be accessible.
In reality, of course, there was no sea on the horizon, just a darker shade of blue sky, presumably caused by cloud and distance. But it set me thinking about how often we are fooled by distance and how we long for things that are beyond our reach; how we are convinced that if only we could get somewhere else, we would be where we want to be.
Thinking about horizons, made me realise how much I miss the mountains. I lived for many years in central Spain where the sky was wide and open, where the glittering path of the Milky Way stretched above our heads and where shooting stars fell among the earth’s high peaks and folds.
The Argentinian told me once how, as a child aged around six, he’d been taken on a drive to the mountains for the first time. As they approached, his brain simply couldn’t comprehend the size and solidity of the mountains, so he refused to accept that they were real, crying with frustration because he thought his brothers were teasing him and all it was was a painted backdrop like the ones at the theatre. Even when they got out of the car and walked around, he remained unconvinced: certainly the ground sloped, but it wasn’t a mountain.
I’ve talked a lot recently about focusing and looking closely at things; perhaps this is just another facet of the same train of thought: sometimes we’re tricked into hankering after things that aren’t really there; and sometimes we’re fooled into thinking that we aren’t where we want to be, or that what we are looking for doesn’t actually exist when in fact it’s right in front of us.