Geographic Orientation


I grew up in Oregon and spent many days and nights on the Oregon Coast. One of the highlights of those times was building a fire in the driftwood(now most certainly outlawed!), roasting marshmallows, and watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. The ocean was always west, the mountains always east.

I understood the weather, too. The weather came over the ocean bringing rain, or it came from the mountains bringing cold winds in the winter and hot winds in the summer. It wasn’t something I ever thought about. It just was.

Now we live with the mountains(such as they are!) to the north and the ocean to the south and to the east. I can’t rely on my built-in sense of geography any more. The sun comes up out of the ocean,it doesn’t go down into it.

As for the weather, it moves in strange circular patterns at times from the Carolinas and the Atlantic, sometimes straight up the Atlantic, sometimes up from Tennessee. I no longer can just know what the weather will be like tomorrow.

I think our whole culture is similarly disoriented at the moment. We no longer can count on things staying the same. We actually have to reflect on the changed landscape we all inhabit. But let’s stop fooling ourselves that we can rotate the world back in time, as Superman once tried, and be back in a predictable setting.

Something tells me we aren’t in Kansas any more.

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