Jason and his daughter, Abby, sat on the rocks watching the waves gently kissing the shore as the tide was going out. “Daddy, where does the water go when the tide goes out?” she asked.
“The water is drawn by the moon and follows it across the sky,” Jason said. “But the water doesn’t really go anywhere. It’s just that the gravitational attraction to the moon causes the ocean to bulge out in the direction of the moon.”
“But it’s daytime,” she said. “I don’t see the moon.”
“That’s because it’s still light out, and it’s easier to see it at night,” Jason explained. “But just because you can’t see it, that doesn’t mean that the moon is not there.”
“How big is the ocean?” Abby asked.
“Very big,” Jason said. “More than two-thirds of the Earth’s surface is water.”
“What’s on the other side of the ocean?”
“What other countries?”
“If you got in a boat and headed in that direction,” Jason said, pointing to the west, “you’d end up in countries like China, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.”
“Can we go there now?” Abby asked.
Jason chuckled. “No, sweetie, it’s very far to the other side of the ocean. In fact, it’s so far that it’s already tomorrow in those countries.”
“It’s the future there?” she asked.
“Well, it’s not exactly the future,” Jason said. “See, there’s this thing called the International Date Line. On this side of that line, which is in the middle of the ocean, it’s today. But on the other side of that line, it’s tomorrow.”
“There’s a line in the middle of the ocean, Daddy? Are you sure?” Abby said with a childishly skeptical look on her face.
“It’s not actually a physical line, sweetie,” Jason said. “It’s more like an imaginary line that exists so that people know what time and day it is around the globe.”
“You’re making that up, aren’t you, Daddy?” Abby said, smiling up at her father.
Jason was tempted to pull out his iPhone and Google “international date line,” but he decided that it was time for a little distraction. “How about if we head up to the boardwalk and get us some ice cream cones?”
“Okay, Daddy.” Abby said. “And when we get home, I won’t tell Mommy that you bribed me with ice cream so that I wouldn’t tell her that you were making shit up again.”
Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.