Almost the 44th parallel


Like most of you, I live on earth.


My house is almost equidistant from the Equator and the North Pole. Living in between those two extremes, you would think we would have perfect weather. We don’t.



Longitudinally, I am also almost equidistant between a French farm field in the southern département of Aveyron and a wave in the North Pacific Ocean not too far south of the Aleutian Islands.


Ninety degrees of separation eastward



Ninety degrees of separation westward


One of the advantages of living near the 44th parallel in the northern hemisphere is that if I want to go around the world, I can do it in less than 17,000 miles. People who live on the equator have to travel 25,000 miles, almost 8,000 more miles than me. Once you factor in the cost of gas, it’s clear that in spite of the cold weather, I can save a lot of money on around-the-world travel.


I’m not crazy about the way the earth is tilted. If it were perfectly straight, I would be walking around at a 45° angle, which is harder than you think. The tilt makes it even harder. I think that’s why I always feel a few degrees off. Thankfully, I can stand partway upright and keep my head up; I’ve never understood how those people below the equator can walk around all day with their heads pointed down.


I’ve gotten used to the way the earth spins around the sun and have grown fond of having regular days and night. I’m not crazy about how it revolves widdershins (the old word for “counterclockwise”) around the sun because that’s the direction that unloosens things. The only way to get it to spin sunwise (the old word for “clockwise,” not to be confused with Early Childspeak for “sunrise”) is to turn the world upside down and pretend that the bottom of outer space is the top. I never do that. I already get dizzy if I think too much about the earth rotating as it revolves around the sun and the solar system orbiting around the Milky Way.


The part that unnerves me the most about living on earth is the hanging-in-outer space part. I like to be inside when I talk about it, near something I can hold onto, just in case. Don’t laugh. The website New Scientist has an article, “Solar system’s planets could spin out of control,” which is just the kind of thing I should never read. You probably shouldn’t either, but if you insist, go here. Keep in mind you cannot read the entire article unless you register, but there’s enough to scare you. Also if you are looking for another scientific-minded individual to hold onto when the world spins out of control, New Scientist has its own dating service called New Scientist Connect where you can “Search thousands of discerning, intelligent people like you.” I suggest you hurry up.


Other than the dizziness and occasional terror about spinning out of control and hurtling through outer space with no place to go but out, I enjoy living on earth. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.


Happy Earth Day from just above the 44th parallel.

A close-up of the 44th parallel in Wisconsin.


Special thanks to Wikipedia and Google for the pictures.