I have been fascinated with world globes and maps for as long as I can remember. I think that it all started when I was three or four. I went into my father’s study looking for him. His study was a place that had always fascinated me. It was full of old, dusty objects that I did not understand. He had shelves and shelves of books, and I used to daydream about what could be in them. My dad was always willing to explain things to me, but when I asked about his world globe map, he demurred. He would not tell me what it was. He seemed to be thinking. Finally, holding it out of reach, he told me that it was a map of the world. I asked excitedly to see it, but he would not let me. Then he asked me a question. “What do you think the world looks like,” he asked?
I remember exactly what I said. I had a friend who had described an antique world globe map to me, dragons and all. Although I knew that one did not run into dragons every day, I was quite sure that they existed in the oceans, as well as on other continents. I began describing all the fantastic creatures that I believed existed on world globe maps. My father listened patiently, gravely even. He never corrected me. He never tried to dispel my illusions about maps of the world, nor did he participate in my game of imagination. He simply listens to me until I was done creating my fantastic world globe map.
When I finished, he took me into my own bedroom. He pulled out my box of crayons, and said one word to me. “Draw,” he said, and smiled. I began to draw my world globe map. I was constantly frustrated by the fact that I could not include everything that I imagined, but nonetheless I continued. Soon I had an entire continent, then two. This was the beginning of my love affair with maps.
Since then, any picture of the globe that I see fascinates me. Rather than teaching me the shape of the continents and the layout of the world globe map, my father taught me something even more important. He taught me to use my own imagination and come to my own conclusions. He taught me that the world is a place full of wonder, even if that wonder does not show up clearly on every world globe map. It is a lesson I will never forget.