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, and my first cricket bat- Polyarmoured – are now resting in a cupboard at Mum and Dad’s. But in our house in Kapunda my childhood globe held quiet and permanent power over me, like a mystic as it sat on my bookshelf above my bunk-bed.
Globes are repositories for memories, and offer glimpses into our future itineraries.
From his Nanna and Poppa our eldest 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 Buddhist 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.
They’re as essential as milk and like a monk, I love turning them gently, fingers on the thermoplastic joy, meditating green places, and the promise of their drenching wonder. With a globe in the house, our imaginative power is enhanced.
Globes urge consideration of yourself and your connection to a bustling world, waiting for you, just outside. In a digital world, I reckon globes are an analogue, mechanical inspiration.
For our boys, I hope as much.