Thinking About Far…

canyonMAY 2020
by dal


We shall not cease from our exploration
And at the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time


If a person will think, they can find the chest; but the secret is to think and analyze… they can find the chest.10:23
(4/2/13 – World Report)

One of the lines I find most perplexing in the poem is in the second verse:
Not far, but too far to walk.

As straight forward as that line seems, particularly in comparison to other lines in the poem, it is its very own riddle. For nearly ten years I have been trying to apply that line to dozens of solutions with no real sense of satisfaction.

How far is “not far”…and how far is “too far to walk”?

I’ve used distances that seemed correct for Forrest.
I’ve used distances that seemed right for an ant.
I’ve used distances that seemed applicable to me.
I’ve tried saying that if the distance is too far to walk then I should drive or take a bike.
And I’ve tried a lot of other ideas too.
But they all felt squishy…nothing really clicked into place…

I thought maybe my issue was with the word “far”…
Google’s definition of the word “far”-

at, to, or by a great distance (used to indicate the extent to which one thing is distant from another).
over a large expanse of space or time.

It’s that second definition that got me thinking.
What if Forrest is not talking about distance. What if he’s talking about time.
Okay…Forrest is clever but I don’t think that even HE has developed a way to travel through time…

But wait!
What about traveling through geologic time over geography..
That happen’s a lot…we all do it…particularly in the mountains.

It’s the actual Time/Space Continuum.
Think of a road cut through rock…or a canyon…

layersThe rim of a canyon can be millions of years distant from the floor of the same canyon.
As a river cuts a canyon through solid rock it exposes the layers of sediment and rock that were laid down millennia earlier…epochs earlier…eras earlier…TIME.
As we walk the length of the canyon we are walking through far stretches of time.

Too far to walk…It would be impossible to walk far through time…and certainly no one can walk a thousand years…that’s too far…except in geologic time. It’s commonly done…we do it all the time, without even thinking about it.

Maybe “far” is describing traveling through geological time as we move through a canyon…

The second stanza in its entirety:
Begin it where warm waters halt
And take it in the canyon down,
Not far, but too far to walk.
Put in below the home of Brown.

Just thinking…


I started with nothing, and I still have most of it!