Rosco - Grand Junction, Colorado
Entered on September 10, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in the iceberg.

No, I don’t exactly have an affinity for frozen water floating in the liquid version of itself — but the analogy is quite fitting for how I see, hear, and feel this world.

In a sense, I see icebergs everywhere I look.

An iceberg in the ocean presents one-eighth or so of itself to view. That is, about 10 or 15% of the entire iceberg is above the surface of the sea. I’ve come to believe that that is how I perceive the world.

What we see is but a fraction of what there is. The same goes for the other senses as well. And … I believe that the same goes for whatever we can imagine.

Take for example, human vision. What is perceptible to our eyes is but a relatively narrow segment of the electromagnetic spectrum. We don’t see infrared nor ultra-violet. What else don’t we see? We don’t see energy per se, but I know it’s there, it’s real, and I believe that with the “right eyes,” it could be seen. (It certainly can be felt!)

So it is with hearing. Who knows, it’s quite probable we can’t taste nor smell beyond a narrow range as well. And the sense of touch? — I believe that it is this sense, paramountly, which we perceive but a minute portion of what there is to experience.

Most days when I’m driving to work I look out over the landscape. There is an interplay between the sun, it’s light and the shade; the clouds, and the sum total of what I feel is but the tip of the iceberg. I can only imagine what I can’t see, but I sense it somehow.

There are forces behind what is perceived. Elements of geology, meteorology, biology, hydrology, plate tectonics, cosmic rays, mythology, history, and probably psychology are imbued in every vista. I marvel at the interplay amongst what I imagine to be a myriad of forces and powers in each hillside I pass by.

The little bit of meteorology I tried to study in school furnishes a lot of ammunition for this belief. Clouds tell the discerning eye a lot — especially about what is going on in areas where there aren’t clouds.

Grinning like, yes, an idiot, I continue driving. I’m amazed that the same hillsides, the same distant horizon, can continually elicit the responses they do. I feel the un-namable earth goddesses, the forces of nature, powers from beyond anything fathomable, manifesting in what I see. And what I feel. Yes, it is mostly about feel. Subconscious. Empathy.

The marvel is that it is mostly unseen, unperceived directly by my senses. The tip of the iceberg.