Sunday, August 18, 2019
Inspired by the current onslaught of world news, I purchased a brand new globe. My past globes were salvages from a public trash can or from a thrift shop and always out of date. Recently, after a remote Russian territory experienced a possible nuclear explosion, news media reported that a neighboring country Finland suddenly had noticed increased nuclear activity.
Where exactly is Finland? I wondered, finally deciding to get a globe. Now, I see that one of Finland’s two longest borders lays directly against Russia’s northwest border–near the remote area where that explosion occurred.
That has become quite a story, by the way. People hurt in the explosion were rushed to a local hospital and treated by emergency medical staff. Those staff had no forewarning of toxidity danger, and now, some of those medical workers are found to carry nuclear contamination.
Anyway about my globe, it feels empowering to get a quick eye-view of locations relative to news stories. This globe reminds me of my junior high student days and my home room hour of Geography 1. On its walls big maps, and on teacher’s desk a free-standing globe. He used those to teach us there’s a larger world, and by the way, it’s connected to our own little town in Oklahoma. I still can visualize our teacher, Mr. “Somebody”, a nice guy probably in his early 40s who then seemed very old. He had tried to enlist and fight in World War II, but the Army discharged him early-on after discovering his allergies to wool, a critical soldering component for warmth in remote locations.
This is leads to a question that I asked afterwards for years: whatever happened to good-old, plain “Geography”? It soon after seemed split-up into various studies, like political science, map studies, various histories, and such. But I always felt its disappearance as a loss for students. There was something holistic about the maps, that globe, a friendly and patriotic teacher with some military background, and my initial surprises on discovering that ours was a very large world.
Well, life’s journey often takes us on a large circle and back to our beginnings. We find ways to add our learning over years to our early humble amounts knowledge. Today, for me it’s about this globe. It reminds, lets me comprehend better what Mr. So-and-So attempted to teach many years ago. Then, I got a little of it, that Oklahoma is part of a world that includes Finland and Russia. There also was someplace he referred to as the “Middle East”, and another he called the “Near East”. For a long while I wondered how these two areas differed. Now, we all recognize the differences and know them clearly. Today, those once-faraway places are not at all remote.
I must have loved that geography class.
Dear Friends: We’ve much more to learn about our world, it’s so small now. Diana