“The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Living in the city, weeks can go by without sight of the horizon. No panoramic views. A lack of vastness in which to feel inconsequentially small.
I grew up on the coast of Maine. As a kid, wading in the cold shallows, looking out across the Atlantic to where the ocean met the sky, I imagined England was on the other side of the horizon, the same way I believed that if I dug far enough in the gray sand, I’d fall through to China.
Even then, I knew the Earth was round. Apollo launches and splash downs interrupted my grammar school classes. I also knew people once believed the world was flat and ships could sail off the edge into a pit of dragons.
Though the dragons also seemed plausible to my young self, the horizon never felt dangerous. It felt, instead, like a place to try to get to, a desireable destination. When I went out in a neighbor’s lobster boat, buckled up in my orange life-preserver, we bounced on the waves for miles but never got closer.
When I’ve walked my childhood beach before sunrise, the sun showed itself first as a brightening, then as a red-orange blob floating up from below. When the orb clears the horizon, it always seems like it should make a popping sound, having freed itself from below.
Standing on the beach, a boy once told me the horizon was fourteen miles away. He was wrong. It’s about three, a distance easily walked, though constantly receding.
My eyes are tired of concrete and confines, Emerson. Enough of the unexpansive city. Let’s venture out to the edge. Nothing (or a dragon) will revive us.