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  • Writer's pictureErin Snedeker


At five feet and three inches tall, when looking out at the Gulf of Mexico, the horizon appears 2.8 miles away. A simple equation or a quick internet search will tell you that.

I am on the shore, and the water laps at my ankles, playfully, lovingly, depositing its offering of sand and shells upon my feet. I stare at the great expanse of water before me, to where my view ends nearly three miles away. The scene is forever familiar, and always different. The sun may be setting low in the sky, splashing a vibrant array of colors across the clouds. Seagulls or pelicans may dive in to the feast that awaits them just below the surface. Stormy gray peaks may arc through the waves as families of dolphins travel gracefully on and on and on.

Changes are coming, those that I have eagerly awaited, and those that I don’t expect; and with these changes, will come transformations in myself, known and unknowable. I have been thinking a lot about the future lately, and what these changes may mean. I will remain the person that I am, only I won’t. I will be familiar, and always just a little bit different from the person I was a year, a month, or even a moment ago.

The Horizon is elusive. It can grow farther from me, but never nearer. I have always thought of the Horizon as a barrier-- between present and future, between the known and unknowable. No matter how far I walk or swim or drive, the closest that I will ever be to the Horizon is 2.8 miles away. In the same way, future will melt into present, into past, at its own pace.

I wish that the future could be laid out like the Horizon. I wish that I could travel to another shore, and see what is to come. I could prepare for the challenges, and anticipate the triumphs, and all would be well. But even here on my familiar shore, the Horizon isn’t what I think it is. It isn’t the threshold of the future, but rather a marker of the past, as it takes infinitesimal moments for the scattering of light to reach my eyes. While the water may appear smooth, glittering in the sun, it holds many secrets.

And still I stand here on my shore looking out at the Horizon, as if I can catch a glimpse at what lies beyond my view, hidden around the corner of time, planted beyond the curve of the earth.

And the Horizon, always, elusively, 2.8 miles away, goes on and on and on.

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