As long as there have been humans, we have flung our collective hopes to that which lies beyond our immediate grasp. Early explorers followed rivers and paths seeking the outer bounds of what might be called home. For their part, sailors would collect provisions, rig whatever might float and wade into the crashing surf knowing, if only through instinct, that there must be something more – something just past what we currently understand as tangible, risking life and family on a bet for the unknowable.
Too often, the quest would leave them consumed by an angry sea. But then, some would find a humble rock cast upon the waters and there build a civilization. More would follow, inspired by the romance and adventure of those preceding.
This fortnight past, I found myself enjoying the hospitality of a stony coastline on a series of volcanic islands, part of the archipelago extending into the Atlantic Ocean cast from Saharan Africa. In sailing around the landmass, one could imagine the vast and incalculable expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. In it, we are bolstered in the reassurance of such human striving. Certainly, we are creatures capable of both evil and glory. The bad in us is all too obvious. Still, in seeing the vastness of the rolling sea laid out, one is struck by our capacity to strive for something more. As the isle was the ultimate rigging point for Columbus and his crews bound for discovery, we wondered what must have been on their minds as they left the craggy but familiar shores to head due west towards the setting sun.
Much has transpired in these many millennia. Yet, there remains infinite discovery to be made — the bounds of space, the depths of oceans and the components of our own lives chief among them.