Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Time & Space

I just flew 2,000 miles across the country.  it's incredible how commonplace that occurrence has come to be.

My great grandfather had the goal of crossing the Mississippi river.  In 80 some years of life he never made it.  His daughter, my very dear Great Aunt who was nicknamed Dude for her gumption, lived all over the country. In the 30's and 40's she made a life for herself that was unprecedented.  She drove trucks for the us army, got divorced, and worked as a secretary at nasa in the height of the space race.  When she died she left a box full of pins from almost every state in the Union and a few from our northern neighbor.  I found a plastic potato to represent Iowa and more state flags than I can remember.  Also, embarrassingly, some Canadian provinces that I didn't know existed.

Hard to reconcile that with the fact that until the age of 16 she had never left the very small town of Candler to make the now 20 minute by car, trek to Asheville.  At 16, little Dude finally left the confines of Candler to see the small city of Asheville. 

Technology caused time and space to shift so drastically during her lifetime.  I drive that distance everyday in a car traveling at 65 miles an hour.  

What a hugely different experience we have with time and space than our forefathers.  It's easy to think that the ones who came before us were ignorant and wrong, but are we right?  Just because I can fly 2,000 miles across the country, it doesn't mean that my limited brain can understand the space I've traveled, or that my body's reflexes can make that shift in time as quickly as I'm moving in space.  

Right now, I look at a map, and cannot imagine that I flew across all of that land...all of that space, without touching any of it.  I cannot conceptualize the distance, only to be back across the country on the east coast at work on monday morning.  

My great grandfather must have felt the same way, looking at a map tracing the line representing the great Mississippi, a faraway and unimaginable landmark that he would never see.