I love July, because summer beckons us to enjoy nature. We hike, we camp, we surf.Something about the ocean so quickly soothes the spirit. The tension and grime of living in the city wash away when my body goes through that first whitewash. The traffic, my problems, business challenges, personal stuff...all rinse away as I survey the horizon and ride a few waves.
Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia had it right when he titled his autobiography, Let My People Go Surfing! There’s wisdom in allowing employees a bit of flex time to appreciate nature. Along those lines, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in the essay Nature:
"The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough."
Emerson was speaking of our pleasure in perceiving beauty, and certainly I’ve related to this quote, seeking out and finding horizons wherever I’ve lived: at the bluffs in the Pacific Palisades, at Prospect Terrace Park in Providence, R.I., at La Casa Lis in Salamanca, Spain, and at Indian Rock in Berkeley...but I’ve always interpreted this quote metaphorically too. The horizon represents a world of possibility beyond what we know, the calm understanding of a future that transcends our current circumstances—whatever they may be. And in those moments, we may feel energized by possibilities of something better.
I went camping earlier this month with our daughter Eden, now four "and a quarter," as she will so eagerly tell you. We camped at the top of a long meadow, with mountains in the distance, over which the Big Dipper soared as we lay down to sleep in our tent. A red planet shone below the Dipper. I told her it was Jupiter, though I wasn’t sure. Twenty minutes later, she bolted upright.
"Where’s the red star?" she asked with concern. I sat up and looked through the tent windows. "I don’t know...I don’t see it. The Big Dipper is still there, but closer to the mountains. Maybe the red star dipped below the mountains." I reassured her that it was still there. "Why did it move?" she asked me. "Actually, the earth moved," I answered. "It turned, so the star disappeared." As I realized I was giving Eden her first lesson in astronomy, I also thought, "It’s 10 pm, way past her bedtime. This is not the time to be going into the rotation of the Earth with my four year old." I reassured her that the star was still there, but just hiding, and we both lay back down to sleep.
The moment felt meaningful for a couple of reasons. We’re often like Eden, thinking that because we don’t see something at a particular moment that it’s somehow vanished from the universe. And of course it’s there, and will appear in time. The second reason is that someone or some internal voice will often tell you, "It’s not the right time." Or "It’s too late." And the truth is: It’s often just the right time, and almost never too late.
I thought there might be a way to weave these thoughts into a discussion of hemp or hemp clothing, or global cooling. I could say, "The time is now: grow hemp here! Wear hemp!! Let’s cool the globe together!!!" But I’m tired of cheerleading. The workday is done: I surfed, I worked. Time to put Eden to bed, and maybe remind her that the Earth is turning. Tomorrow’s a new day.
Where’s your healthy horizon? And what goodness awaits you there?
I wish you all a wonderful July and look forward to connecting with you soon.