Monday, July 20, 2009

The Round Earth

I have been contemplating the round earth. Never before have I flown as far as I will be flying to get to Tokyo. Prague was some 4,000 miles, Honolulu was 4,973. I will be flying 6760 miles to get to Tokyo.

The maps of my life have influenced my thinking here. I am used to maps that show North America on the left and Europe on the right--granted a particular and parochial view. I get how you fly from one side of the flat map to the other.

So rarely have I seen maps showing Asia on the left and North America on the right. I will fly off my mental map on the left side, and then reappear on the right side.

Or, if I imagine a globe, I will be flying all the way around and over to the other side of the world.

There is no way to imagine a straight line. The plane must follow the curve of the world. Unless I am to fly into space, I will round the earth to end up where gravity's pull is almost 180 degrees from its pull where I stand today.

It is a big world. It is a small world. It is a round world.

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