Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Shape of Home

We could find it in a snowstorm: the shape of home.

This is the literal truth. When that white precipitation falls and we bundle into our winter wares, our covered hands resemble our state. Perhaps you've noticed this, too, not because you're from Michigan but because people from Michigan are notorious for using their own hands as maps.

Back when cartography was an inexact science, Michigan didn't look the way it does now--at least, not on paper. The top of the Lower Peninsula wasn't round enough, the Upper Peninsula belonged to Wisconsin, the bodies of water were exaggerated. But we can see those shapes now and still get it.

We always know we're looking at home, even when the map isn't quite right. The mitten may be malformed, the lakes too large, the areas labeled with tribal names instead of county lines, but there they are: our pleasant peninsulas.


All images via the British Library's Flickr stream, which is basically the greatest thing ever to happen to picture libraries on the Internet.

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