The earth meets the sky at the horizon line. Always at eye level, this imaginary line sets one’s orientation. After being crushed by grief for so long, to me it is comforting—no, it is essential—to always know my relative physical position on this planet. This line, along with whatever celestial body happens to be hanging in the sky, is my critical formula for right side-up, for being able to move forward, for life.
On my last vacation before COVID, I was snorkeling in the West Bay of Roatan, Honduras, and the floor of the sea suddenly ended. It just dropped. Down a hundred feet from where I hovered. It was as if I’d arrived at the end of the world. One more step forward was a shear vertical drop-off into a vast dark nothingness. The deep of the bay. I tried to see ahead but there was only blue. Losing my orientation to the earth and sky felt like my brain was being squeezed out of my head. Like my very life could drown.
Terrified, I backed away, then turned and kicked and paddled as fast as I could with pounding heart until I reached the sandy shallows of the shoreline and could see where the sunny sky met the sparkling sea. Then everything felt right once more.