Outdoor Adventures

Posted 4/28/21

Through Another Lens By Brian G. Schommer Albert Einstein is credited for proving that by looking at anything through a different lens, our perceptions will be different. He used an illustration of a …

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Outdoor Adventures


Through Another Lens

By Brian G. Schommer

Albert Einstein is credited for proving that by looking at anything through a different lens, our perceptions will be different. He used an illustration of a moving train from the viewpoints of two different people. In his example, the first person is sitting on the train while the other is standing outside the train. If lightning were to strike at both ends, the person standing outside of the train would see the bolts hitting at the same time as the light will hit their eyes simultaneously. The person on the train is facing the front and would see the lightning that struck the front first with the back strike appearing to hit after the front. There is no right or wrong, it is all perspective. It is widely known that Einstein probably never took an IQ test. It is also pretty much accepted that he was a smart guy with an above average level of intelligence, so it is probably safe to say that so far, this column has not been derailed.

Writing a column for a conglomeration of community- based newspapers provides me the opportunity to share things through my lens. It is not the intent to change the beliefs, thoughts, or opinions of those reading Outdoor Adventures. There are no delusions of grandeur here that my beliefs, thoughts, and opinions are the “end all, be all.” American author Joseph Chilton Pearce, known best for writing books about human and child development is quoted, “if we want to live a creative life, we must first overcome our fear of being wrong.” As a person who strives to be creative, I have no fear of being wrong. If you ask those who know me best, it is a frequent occurrence. We see things different, and, in many cases, there is no right or wrong. Like some of the changes in Major League Baseball over the past couple years. What is your perspective?

The following is taken from the University of Southern California student newspaper. “Once known as America’s favorite pastime… baseball is sadly becoming an afterthought in the American sports landscape.” The article in the “Daily Trojan” published on January 27, 2021 focuses on Major League Baseball and the decline of viewership. Statistically, the article illustrated significant drops in the overall interest society has for baseball. It also spoke of some of the changes being made by MLB. As many fans, I do not like some of the changes incorporated. For one, starting off extra-innings with a runner at second base takes away from the game, at least in my view. I do not believe that a base should be given without being earned if competing in the game of baseball. Is it fair and equal because both teams start their half-inning this way? Sure, it is. I still do not like it.

Tim Huber, a former resident of Hastings and player for the Hastings Hawks, who is also the current head baseball coach at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota agrees. Timmy and I agree that this is not how baseball is supposed to be played and based on most the responses on his social media page, a lot of people agree. If an expert like Huber (Division 1 Baseball Coach) agrees with me; everyone should, right? Of course not. What you see down third baseline is different from my view from behind the plate. Some fans love the extra-innings rule and are hopeful that other changes such as creating a ball that travels farther for more homerun potential, increasing the playoff field from 10-teams to 16, returning the designated hitter to the National League game and other potential game shortening and “excitement” adding changes take place at the MLB level. Agree or disagree, there is no right or wrong.

Speaking of looking through a lens, did you know there is an observation on the Mississippi River not too far from Lock and Dam #2 that provides the opportunity to see further downstream than what your naked eye will allow? In 2008, the Hastings Area Rotary Club donated a non-coin operated, binocular type viewing machine made by “Hi-Spy,” which according to their website claims they “make the world’s best viewers. Period.” As always, if it is on the internet, it must be true. The viewer is in the process of being repaired according to Hastings Parks and Recreation staff and the necessary parts are on order. I guess even “the best” needs some upkeep, maintenance, and repairs from time to time. A walk or bike ride along the river for many is a wonderful way to get out, enjoy the outdoors and appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds us. For others, it is a chore and not anything that they would ever do voluntarily. A meme on social media reads, “If my body is found on a jogging trail, please call the authorities… I was obviously murdered and put there.” For us that enjoy getting out for a walk, bike ride or site-seeing adventure, it is great that the community has places to do it. For others, these expenditures are a waste of tax dollars. Are you sitting on the train facing forward or outside of the train? Watching trains while spending time along the Riverwalk in Hastings is another activity that many people enjoy. Some might find that a waste of time as well.

From pretty much any vantage point between Lock and Dam #2 and the railroad bridge that spans the Mighty Mississippi near the east end of Hastings, trains can be seen moving their wares up and down the tracks. Occasionally, you will even see an Amtrack cruising along towards St. Paul or destinations southward. Growing up two blocks from the tracks, a regular spring and summer activity was searching for spikes that either loosened and came out of the rails or were dropped by railyard maintenance folks. Why collect railroad spikes? Because every kid in the neighborhood did it and yes, if they jumped off the bridge, we did too. The adventures that were had down on the westside of Lake Isabel seem to have much more meaning today than they did when we were younger. It never fails when talking with old pals from the neighborhood, a lot of our conversations start with, “remember that time at…” followed by lots of laughs. Age creates natural changes in perspective. “Listen to your elder’s advice, not because they are always right but because they have more experiences of being wrong.” If any of the old clan from the neighborhood are up for a little spike collecting down at the trainyard, let me know? I am still not sure what we will do with them, but it might be fun to share some time together to reconnect, and we will not have to sneak a beer from the old man’s garage fridge to share between all of us.

If someone else were to look through your lens, what would they see? For that matter, what do you see when you look through your lens? Do you generally see a glass half full or is it half empty? George Carlin said, “Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty. I see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be.” No matter how you see the glass, just remember that it is refillable. If your glass of life is seeming a bit empty, a great way to refill it is by getting out and “Enjoying the Great Outdoors.”