On the 60th Parallel and the Center of the Universe

Mark Twain's LattitudeThere isn’t a Parallel of latitude but thinks it would have been the Equator if it had had its rights.”
-Mark Twain, Following the Equator

The center of the world, that’s what the equator thinks of itself. A balmy middle of equal days and nights, one after the other, on and on, breezing along in the warm sun.

But stand at any point on earth – say, for instance, the 60th parallel – where polar bears lumber and long winter nights reveal shimmering curtains of light from the rarefied, electrically-charged atmosphere known as Aurora Borealis.

What, then, is so special of the equator? All points are at once center and edge. Head out long enough in one direction and you’ll soon be back right where you started. Every place is its own equator.

Mark Twain takes a break:
I don’t think Mark Twain ever visited the 60th parallel, but, well, somebody has to. I’ll be away for the next three weeks on an Earthwatch expedition to Churchill, Manitoba. It seems as if Mark Twain would rather stay nearer the “equator” and wait for his adoring admirer to come full circle. We’ll be back the first week of March. Keep the faith.   

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