I love a globe. There’s simple joy in being hypnotised by the cascading sweep of the Americas, contemplating the distant familiarity of England, and contending with innumerable Stans where once was the muscular bulk of the USSR.
Ah, seduced by a sphere.
For my birthday Mum and Dad bought me a standing floor globe, and Sunday morning Max and I assembled its dark wooden frame before slotting in the tilted ball. Max gave it a spin.
Ocean. Land. Giddy revolutions. Ocean. Land.
Like the best gifts it’s made me reflect.
Alex and Max often chat about the wider world, and as they engage with the possibilities, their curiosity is comforting. Globes encourage this.
“Alex, how deep is the Marianas Trench?”
“Really deep. You couldn’t even touch the bottom.”
And last year, walking by the Singapore River-
“Max, when we’re older, like probably thirteen, Joseph and I are climbing Mt Everest. We won’t even need any oxygen tanks.”
“No oxygen tanks! Really?”
As a kid I had enchanted possessions. The tape recorder and accompanying best of Little River Band cassette I received one Christmas; my first cricket bat- Polyarmoured, and now resting in a cupboard at Mum and Dad’s, and a yellow, wooden skateboard. But, in our house in Kapunda the globe of my childhood held quiet and enduring power over me, like a mystic. Globes conjure memories, and are gateways into our future.
From his Nanna and Poppa Alex also got one for his eighth birthday. With eyes widening he ripped the wrapping paper from the box then hopped about the room with delight. His globe came with a touch-activated light, and when the boys are in bed, it cloaks their room with a snug glow. Living in a corner, it watches over them, a silent sentry as they sleep.
As an adult how did I survive so long without a globe? For too many years my homes were without one; emptier dwellings surely dulled by their absence, and now we’ve three, offering buzzing invitations to our planet’s mysteries and marvels, and voyages and stories. Our imaginative power is enhanced. They’re as essential as milk and I love turning them gently like a monk, fingers on the thermoplastic joy, meditating on unknown places, and the promise of drenching wonder.
Globes urge consideration of yourself, and the bustling world, waiting for you, just outside.
For our boys, I hope as much.
Thanks to Mum and Dad for their gifts of globes, over many decades.