Comment l’horizon est loin?


Sydney, Australia, 2016.


Two weeks ago, I attended the first of a series of French lessons that I spontaneously signed myself up for. As a final exercise before we parted that evening, we were asked to look at a picture of a bent old man peering out into the sea from where he stood, and come up with a question as to what he might be thinking. It barely took me a second, for the line almost immediately popped up in my mind: how far is the horizon?

How far is the horizon? A question, which in French, I learnt translated to comment l’horizon est loin. I listened to the rest of the imagined questions of my fellow course mates. One imagined the man wondering where the bikinis were. Another pictured the man remarking the blueness of the waters. When it was my turn, I was surprised by the sudden stillness that fell within the four walls as I uttered my question.

Comment l’horizon est loin? There are so many scenes of our lives; moving scenes, one following another, forming the unravelling reel of our days. And yet. How many ways are there to perceive each scene, to live each scene, and to contemplate each scene? Take the instance of a bent old man peering out into the sea from where he stood. Take another instance of one standing at the crossroads of life, laced with potentiality.

And truly, comment l’horizon est loin? Do you see it as something that is within grasp, or one that is impossibly distant? Do you find its elusiveness exasperating, or overwhelming in its infinite beauty? How do our individual perceptions of this horizon influence the choices that we make, consequently marking the way in which we live our lives? Or, do we even notice the horizon that lies – ever so quietly, so unassumingly – before us each day?

Comment l’horizon est loin? I am still living the question, in pursuit of its answer.

– Agnes Chew


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