From a Distance

By Corey Sandler

From a distance the world looks blue and green,
and the snow-capped mountains white.
From a distance the ocean meets the stream,
and the eagle takes to flight.

From a distance, there is harmony,
and it echoes through the land.
It’s the voice of hope, it’s the voice of peace,
it’s the voice of every man.

From a distance we all have enough,
and no one is in need.
And there are no guns, no bombs, and no disease,
no hungry mouths to feed.

The wistful, optimistic song is “From a Distance”, written by Julie Gold and performed by more than a few fine singers including Bette Midler and Nancy Griffith.

I thought of the song when my wife and I ventured out of our cocoon recently on a carefully selected and protected cruise: not to one of the grand cities of Europe, not to one of the spectacular fjords and mountains of Chile or Norway or Alaska, in fact not more than about five miles from our home along the sea.

We ventured by small boat eastward to Spectacle Island outside of Boston harbor. Spectacle is one of some 20 or so small islands that are remnants of the great Laurentide Ice Sheet that covered most of what is now Canada and the American northeast between 20,000 and 95,000 years ago.

Spectacle Island is, in geological terms, a drowned drumlin pair. Two small rounded hills of sediment–most likely leftover from the Canadian Shield north of the Saint Lawrence River in Canada. For more than three decades we lived on Nantucket Island about 100 miles further south of Boston, a place that is also a remnant of the glacier, a terminal moraine, and home to a few large boulders that had been moved south 500 or so miles all the way down from Canada.

When we climbed Spectacle Island’s south drumlin (all of about 150 feet above sea level) we were rewarded with a lovely autumn view into the harbor looking at the distant towers of downtown.

All looked well…from a distance.

From Spectacle Island, looking toward Boston. Photo by Corey Sandler. Copyright 2021. All rights reserved.

Here’s another one, from a 2017 trip around South America.

Offshore of Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. Photo by Corey Sandler. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.