Mud flats, sea to the horizon under a setting midnight sun.

The Horizon


Between two worlds life hovers like a star, twixt night and morn, upon the horizon’s verge.

George (Lord) Byron (1824)


Horizons are alluring, evocative, tantalising. They beckon us; intrigued we approach the novel life beyond them. They fire our imaginations with an unknown which is just sufficiently different from the known not to be threatening. And they fascinate us with that which can never be reached. They are at once within our world and beyond it. This synthesis at the horizon, of the concrete and the imagined, seems to reflect the physical and mental aspects of life. At the horizon the unattainable meets our familiar natural world. So the horizon stands ‘between two worlds’ it is absolutely concrete and public, we can approach it together, but equally it always anounces another place, one in our minds that remains beyond the horizon, and which we can never reach.

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Byron’s Don Juan, from which the quote is taken, started to appear in 1819, parts were added until his death in 1824, this left a poem of some 180 pages. The picture (which offers lens aberrations in place of a star) was taken on the northern coast of Iceland near midnight at midsummer when sunset and sunrise are a few minutes apart. Maybe not what the poet had in mind, but hopefully offering the intermingling of known and imagined that he wished to catch. If we move far enough over that horizon we stand on Greenland, the world we imagine from here becomes the physical world.

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