Map of the World

Dear Grandma,

Twenty years ago you left us. The time seems to have gone by so quickly. I hope you are enjoying the view from where you are. Thanks for encouraging me to see the world in my own way.



Long before GPS and satellite imagery became the dominant means of navigating from place to place we actually had to fold out a large sheet of paper to chart a course. Each printed image was created by an artist, specifically a cartographer, who presented an interpretation of the earth. I was spellbound by the imagery in the margins and the geography of distant lands that fell under my gaze.

Perhaps, the most influential maps in my life were gifts from my Grandmother. Though she rarely traveled long distances, she loved the idea of seeing the world. Through the colorful pages of National Geographic she made many voyages. After she had finished reading the articles, she carefully folded each of the maps, tucked them inside the cover and gave them to me. I spent hours in an upstairs bedroom of Grandma and Grandpa Blew’s farmhouse, pouring over the words and images, marveling at the scale of the world, vowing to visit as many places as I possibly could.

When I fly, the world below looks much like those maps. Thanks to her gift and shared desire to see the world that lies just over the horizon I have the knowledge and courage to go.


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