July 31, 2014

The incredibly satisfying sensation of infinite smallness

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Beyond the Blue Horizon by PhotoDaemon

Another year, another family vacation in the books.  This year, we returned to the Point Sebago Resort in Casco, Maine for the third year in a row.  The weather was fantastic, the boys had a good time, and the parents weren’t completely exhausted at the end of it all.

Sebago Lake in Maine is a fairly large lake.  Having grown up in Buffalo, NY on Lake Erie, I am forever spoiled by the massive size of the Great Lakes when it comes to comparing bodies of fresh water.  Nonetheless, I can appreciate the size and depth of Sebago Lake, which  covers 45 square miles and reaches a depth of over 300 feet.

In spite of that size, however, neither Sebago Lake, nor even the Great Lakes, could offer something I have felt whenever I journey to the coast and look out over the ocean.  Something about standing before the endless, seemingly infinite expanse of the ocean has always been soothing.  It is as if the endless, rhythmic droning of the waves and the inability to see across to the other side reminds me that I am small.  More than that, that my problems are unbelievably tiny in the much grander scheme of things.  The ocean reminds me that it can be beautiful, calming, calamitous, treacherous and angry all at once, and that in all its nearly timeless eternity – it is absolutely unconcerned with anything that will ever transpire in my life.

Some might find this depressing – to be confronted with the undeniable fact that their existence will simply not matter to something so grand and ageless.  To me, however, it is a place of catharsis and solace.  It puts the things that trouble my mind into perspective, and that alone allows me to put my worries and fears and all my earthly concerns aside, and regain an appreciation for the important parts of my existence.

You see, while something as nearly incomprehensible and massive as the enormity and timelessness of the oceans will never be concerned with my short time upon this earth, the people that I encounter and share my life with will…..and that is where my focus should always be – on the people who share my life.  Inanimate things like money, cars, houses, wristwatches, sunglasses, comfortable chairs and cell phones and, yes, even something as great and grand as the ocean, will never notice my existence no matter how much time I spend with them.

Human beings, however, can be affected greatly and remember you to the end of their days, for things that occur even just once in a passing moment.  What’s more – the more you interact and share with them, the greater the likelihood of being remembered, and transcending into a place where the memory of your life becomes as infinite as the ocean itself.

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  • Kevin Meyer

    Agree completely – one big reason why I live with a view of the ocean and my deepest meditations are while walking – alone – on the 5 mile long beach a few blocks away. Reflection, hansei, in such an environment puts issues in perspective.

    • http://myflexiblepencil.com/about_davidk/ David M. Kasprzak

      Thanks, Kevin. My apologies for being so long in replying. It seems I was not receiving notifications for Disqus correctly.
      There is, clearly, some wisdom in the belief that we should all spend more time with nature. I tend to clear my head just out hiking, or walking the dogs in our neighborhood – which is very wooded up here in our semi-rural town in NH. I kick myself from time to time for leaving the city and passing up on the career opportunities there, however, there’s few places like this for raising children.

  • Erik R

    Don’t kick the babaaaaayyyy