The Shetland Islands are a Scottish archipelago located to the northwest of Great Britain. Visitors to Shetland are told that the island lies upon the 60th
parallel, as though this means something. And to many locals, it does. For them, the 60th
parallel signifies that the archipelago is more than just isolated islands—it is connected to the larger world in a meaningful way.
When Shetland native Malachy Tallack was 16, his father died. “It was the kind of quiet, ordinary day on which nothing extraordinary ought to happen. But it did,” he writes. Shortly after the funeral, he found himself staring out the window of his house in Lerwick, Shetland, imagining the 60th
parallel unfolding before him into the distance.