Once upon a time, I lived in West Texas. One late fall afternoon, I was sitting on my dock fishing. That could be a matter of debate. I looked up the definition of fishing and Mr. Webster says, and I quote, “n. The act, occupation, or sport of catching fish. A place for catching fish.” Obviously the fish had not read Mr. Webster’s Dictionary. It did not seem they wanted to bite my hook. Nobody was messing with my bait. The water was still. The wind was calm. The temperature was mild. A perfect day to be fishing, but nothing was happening.
It wasn’t because I didn’t have the proper equipment. I spent a lot of time (and money) picking out my fishing gear at Walmart Sporting Goods and Tackle, Inc. I was sitting in my Aggie deck chair, holding a glass of tea in one hand and a six-foot fiberglass Ugly Stick rod in the other. On the Ugly Stick, I had placed an Abu Garcia reel with 200 yards of Berkley XTVS10-15 Monofilament Trilene line. Attached to that line was a Booyah Micro Pond Magic Spinnerbait. Don’t you think that sounds mighty impressive? I do. Unfortunately, the fish were uninspired. The ice in my tea was melting. I had not even had the opportunity to begin smelling like fish. I was bored.
Being bored, I was just looking around, watching the ripples in the water, mostly made by the breeze. I glanced up at the top of the trees swaying back and forth in the wind. As my dock was floating below the natural level of the surrounding trees, I could not see the horizon. Or rather, I could not see the place where the sky met the earth. All I could see were the trees stretching toward the sky. Since the fish were not cooperating, I had a conversation with myself about the horizon. When you fish, you have a tendency to do that sort of thing, converse with yourself. The fish are certainly not listening.
Many years ago, I spent four years serving my country in the U.S. Navy. I mention that to say this. When you are on board an aircraft carrier in the middle of the Pacific and not able to see any portion of land in any direction, you tend to wonder just exactly where you are.
The navigators are well equipped to locate latitudes and longitudes and to ascertain the ship’s exact location, but to those of us, who were accustomed to swabbing the deck, (mop the floor for landlubbers) we were in the middle of nowhere.
On the rare occasion when no flight operations were happening, below-deck sailors was allowed on the carrier flight deck. It gave us an opportunity to view the horizon with a 360° vision. So floating in the middle of nowhere you can see forever. How I envy the pilots who fly well beyond the earth. What a magnificent view that must be to witness in person.
On board the ship when the sky is clear and the sea is calm, one can see the two merge into one. You can see the edge of the earth. Makes you think about why the ancient people viewed the world as being flat. Talk about infinity pools, this is by far the most rewarding view possible.
Because of the vast area in the great state of Texas, observations of the horizon vary a quite a bit. In West Texas, one can see a long way because the terrain is mostly flat and the trees, if there are any, are short in stature. Probably the most predominant is the mesquite. It spreads its limbs softly and low to the ground while its roots also suck up whatever water is available. Ranchers do not like the tree for that very reason. However, the mesquite does have it benefits. Think “Mesquite grilled steak”.
Having moved to East Texas, in 2009, I began to notice; trees grow very tall, especially the pine trees. I’ve yet to determine any benefit from a pine tree. Well, I suppose they make good lumber. But they do not make good grilling wood. The steaks taste funny, sort of like a grilled pinecone.
I know there are many different places around the world where one can view a superb view of the horizon. I have seen many. Certainly, on a beach somewhere, one can watch the sun gradually sink beyond the water, slowly being overtaken by that approaching horizon. Or, perhaps watching the moon arise from over a mountaintop. In truth, the horizon must be viewed from the perspective of wherever you are at that moment in time.
I do not know where you live, but wherever it is, stop for a moment and view whatever horizon is there. It may touch a tree or a lake, or perhaps you may see it from a skyscraper in downtown New York. Wherever it is, it should cause you to stop and think how large our universe is. Scientists say that our solar system is only one of perhaps a billion systems just like it. That challenges my mind. I think the horizon gives us pause to stop and ponder the universe.
In my research, I discovered a website that allows you to enter your latitude and longitude in the box and it will give you the sights of the universe from your vantage point. Check it out. It is an amazing site/sight. http://www.fourmilab.ch/yoursky/ You can find your coordinates from Google maps.
I don’t know about you, but my thoughts are not consistent with the “big bang” theory. Of course, one must take whatever view they hold with a bit of faith. Personally, my faith allows me to lean more to the creation version. I think I’ll sit out in my backyard tonight and watch the horizon leisurely drift into the dark of night. Sounds like a beautiful way to rediscover the magnitude of God.
Oops! Gotta go, something just took my bait. Have a great day, fishing, of course. © Pete Robertson