If there’s one thing that I’ve discovered, it’s that people, generally, don’t look at maps and have no idea what they’re looking at when they see land before them.
That doesn’t make them bad. It would be weird for me to be irritated with people for that. I’m not.
I’m just saying that having some knowledge of the part of planet earth that you see with your eyes can add pleasure. It can inspire curiosity, wonderment, passion, travel and other good things.
It’s a shame how crappy geography teachers in government schools can be. It’s a shame that kids are not taught to love maps. I said some things like this already in my post These amazing things called maps.
But now I’m going to make my point. There’s this fancy word “physiography.” Wikipedia defines it as the study of the physical features of the earth’s surface.
The United States has a multitude of physiographic regions, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, that all of us can easily recognize if they are merely pointed out.
Now, though I regard Wikipedia as garbage for many subjects, it can still provide good facts. Its entry for “Physiographic regions of the United States” is excellent. It not only categorizes the main physiographic regions but also sub-categories of them, as there is variety across huge regions.
The main regions are the following:
- The Laurentian Upland
- The Atlantic Plain
- The Applachain Highlands
- The Interior Plains
- The Interior Highlands
- The Rocky Mountain System
- The Intermontane Plateaus AND FINALLY
- The Pacific Mountains
Now, maybe you couldn’t care less what is meant by “Laurentian Upland” or the “Interior Highlands.” Fine. However, the fact is that when people look at beautiful landscapes, especially out west, they are far more receptive to scientific explanations of what their eyes see. That’s because discerning higher patterns of the natural world is pleasurable.
Maybe they won’t care about a flower and where it grows. Maybe they won’t care about a tree, but maybe they will. And maybe they will care about how the communication between land and sky creates weather patterns which cause the trees to grow here but not there. Maybe they will care how this communication impacts the physical geography they are looking at, and maybe they will be all the more enthused to know they traveling from one physiographic region to another, like going from the Rocky Mountains to the Colorado Plateau, for example.
In fact, I KNOW they are.
Featured image from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US_physiographic_regions_map.jpg