Getting ourselves, our various official documents and sundry bedraggled suitcases across the Atlantic recently felt like a significant effort. In addition to the money it requires, it takes a long time, though not as long now that we don’t fly through Istanbul.* We’re glad we have the opportunity to make the crossing, of course, but we recognize it as a major undertaking.
In our journey we benefited from all kinds of advanced scientific know-how and engineering expertise, not to mention space-age technology and lots of jet fuel. I read recently about some of the world’s tiniest travelers that make the same journey, only in reverse, using technology that is much, much older than ours.
I found it fascinating that dust from one continent would be able to contribute to the health of an ecosystem on another–an African desert feeding the South American Rainforest. We talk generally about how we’re interdependent, but I think it’s powerful to see how that interdependence plays out at different scales and in unexpected ways. We can’t escape the fact that what happens in one place affects what happens in another.
Having seen a simulation of dust in the wind, perhaps you’re ready for a song?
*Political unrest outweighed economic and cultural considerations, so now we fly more directly. It was an interesting adventure for the years we did it, providing lots of unusual experiences. You can read about some of them: Turkish chat, Dispatches from Istanbul, Airport friends, and Explosion aftermath.