Nothing (or a Dragon)

“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 reassuringly small.

On the coast of Maine, where I grew up, the horizon is where the ocean meets the sky. As a kid, standing in the cold shallows and looking out at the Atlantic, I imagined England was just over the line, just as I believed that if I dug down far enough in the gray sand, I’d end up in China. Fingering the globe now, I see that Tasmania would have been more geographically accurate.

I knew, early on, that the Earth was round. My primary school classes were interrupted by Apollo launches and splash downs. I also knew that, once upon a time, people believed the world was flat and ships could sail off the edge and fall 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, an obvious destination. When I went out in a neighbor’s lobster boat, buckled up in my orange life-preserver, we never got closer. Continue reading Nothing (or a Dragon)