Open Horizons

In travelling great rivers and lakes, there are times when islands fade, hills and headlands recede, the water merges with the sky in a distant mirage of shimmery blue. These are the open horizons of the far north.

If it is calm, the canoes drifting through reflections with nothing to break the vast silence but the hypnotic swish of paddles, there are moments when one seems suspended between heaven and earth. If it is stormy and the lakes alive, with whitecaps and blowing spume, each instant is full of battle and excitement. When, after hours and sometimes days, the misty outlines of the lake take form again, islands slowly emerge and float upon the surface, headlands become real, one passes through a door into the beyond itself and the mystery is no more.

Life is a series of open horizons, with one no sooner completed than another looms ahead. Some are traversed swiftly, while others extend so far into the future one cannot predict their end. Penetrations into the unknown, all give meaning to what has gone before, and courage for what is to come. More than physical features, they are horizons of mind and spirit, and when one looks backward, we find they have blended into the whole panorama of our lives. – Sigurd Olson, from Open Horizons, 1969.