On a Beach Walk: No. 43 (Frontier)

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

I look at the water and see only water – yet only a small portion of a vast collection that makes our planet blue. In the distance is a line where the water meets the sky – the horizon – the place where the known meets the unknown – the horizon – the boundary separating dreams and reality.

At one time some stood on shores looking over the water and wondering what was beyond that line. Seeking beyond the horizon was the next frontier. In our own way, we still do that.

I look above at the clear blue sky and it is easy to think about what is beyond that blue window. Thinking about last night’s clear sky and plethora of lights causes anyone to think about the vast frontier we call space.

It is easy to imagine how some in humanity saw the stars as mere lights attached to a dome surrounding us.

The frontier of the open sea. The frontier of a new land. The frontier of the air. The frontier of the heavens above. The frontier of the water below the surface. The frontier of what we cannot see with the unaided eye. These were all regions of the unexplored – an uncharted territory – the unknown – a frontier.

The frontier – a line separating the explored and the unexplored. Frontier – a region leading to the next advancement in knowledge. Vaccines, medicines, electronics, robotics, microtechnologies, and so much more were part of a frontier at one time. Yet as knowledge increases, the frontier also expands like an infinite bloom.

Galileo changed accepted thinking of his day because he explored a frontier with the telescope. Today, the Hubble Telescope takes us far beyond what Galileo imagined. In that same time period microscopes started to take us into the world of the small. Now today, electron micrographs take us to the very small. Atomic force microscopes are capturing the view of atoms and molecules – all journeys into a distant frontier.

Those who explore frontiers are heroes. Some gain fame – others not. Think of the explorers who reached into the New World from the Old World. Think of wilderness explorers as Lewis and Clark going into the wilderness of the US western frontier. Think of astronauts going into the unknown of space. Think about all the scientists involved in the many increments leading to a new, important breakthrough to which only a few a credited. Think of all the people who stretch themselves beyond the boundaries into an unknown world.

Curiosity to explore in order to learn more in a new frontier is naturally human because we want to know more about ourselves and our place in the world. The urge to know is emotional because exploration is in our DNA. Yes – we want to know – and yes, personal growth is also a journey into a new personal frontier.

Frontier – that next advancement in knowledge comes from the abyss of uncharted territory. Frontier – that extreme limit of our understanding or achievement. Frontier – that region that is only marginally explored.

The many steps on this beach is my frontier because each day is different on this long stretch of sand. Each day is a different thought because the beach changes daily. Each day is a frontier for me because I like walking the beach for it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.