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You never really get back home
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A friend and I met up in the massive Frankfurt airport's central lobby just by coincidence.

I was flying in from Africa after four weeks and he was coming in from Turkey.

We happened to cross paths while working our way through the throng of mankind traversing this critical transportation hub. Laughing at our luck of running into each other we stopped in the middle of the mass of humanity to chat for a few minutes.

Comments about work quickly changed to expressions on finally getting on the last flights which would take us to our homes and our families. My friend noted that he would be glad to return to his exact spot and lay in his bed.

Later as my flight leveled off for the 11 hour flight back to the States, I thought about his comment. His perception of his spot and his home was based on a rather limited view of our planet. There was nothing wrong with that, but from my perspective, in fact, none of us ever return home to our spot.

If you consider the globe and put an "X" where his bedroom was, because of continental drift his bedroom is slowly moving in relation to the other continents on our planet.

The Central Atlantic Ridge is pushing Europe and North America further apart at about half an inch a year.

So his bed was moving the whole time he was away in Turkey.

On a grander scale it gets even more interesting.

The earth rotates, of course, giving us night and day, but it also wobbles around the north and south poles kind of like a toy top as it slows down.

That wobble is a second order precession which moves the earth about two and half degrees every 41,000 years.

So, my friend's bed is also wobbling around as the earth spins.

That rotation is not exact either. Our days are slowing down.

Currently, the earth makes one complete revolution every 23 hours, 56 and 4 tenths of a minute. We are slowing down about 2 millionths of a second each century.

The earth also has an elliptical movement about the poles as well which makes a full mini orbit about every 26,000 years.

Most of these forces are actually induced by the gravity fields of Jupiter and Saturn as they influence our tiny Earth.

Those huge planets throw a lot of weight around in our solar system.

This brings us to the sun.

The sun is actually moving through space dragging all of its planets, meteor belts, comets and other interesting stuff along with it.

Recent measurements have suggested that the sun is moving at about 52,000 mph through space.

So, each night when my friend goes to bed we have travelled quite some distance as a solar system through space, and he is most certainly not where he was even one night before.

Finally, the earth orbits around the sun once a year, but a year is not quite as exact as you might think.

It currently takes us 365 and one quarter days to orbit the sun and the speed at which that happens also varies.

When you put all of these forces into motion the earth is anything but steady and where our planet is at any given instant is never the same.

Still, when I finally arrived at my home following a long and grueling journey it felt nice to lay my head on a familiar pillow in a familiar and comfortable room.

It only took a few seconds to fall soundly asleep and dream about the comforts of home even though I knew that in fact I never really returned to the place from whence I started.

Charlie Auvermann is a longtime Dawson County resident and former editor of the Dawson Community News. He is also the executive director of the local development authority.