Chunneling Through the Storm

Today has been a bit of a disappointment.  First, I run over to Panera for my morning coffee and blogging.  I get everything I need and, boo–the Panera page won’t go past the log-in.  It was really a shame, too, ’cause I’m totally in Allison Mode, which means I have my thermal top on under my turtleneck sweater, and my little gold hoop earrings, and I could almost pull off the “I’m a horny, pissy soccer mom who’s also a clone” look.  Oh, well:  can’t have it all.

Then I get back to the apartment and I discover that a pair of boots I must have didn’t get shipped.  Why?  Maybe because the story doesn’t know how to keep track of their inventory on their web page, and they lead you to believe they have said boots when they don’t.  Bummer.  They were so cute, I gotta have them.  Which means I now have to hunt for another pair that’s probably going to cost me an arm and a leg in the process.

Oi, such a bad morning.  Lets hope the rest of the day is filled with much mirth.  Or at least some happiness.

The story.  Oh, yes, the story.  They’re out of history class, and there was a mention of them attending algebra right after.  Now it’s onto flight school, but there’s one hell of a storm blowing around outside–which is actually different from the weather for that day and time, but I changed it because–well, I wanted the storm.  I have my reasons.  That’s all you need to know.

Anyway:  Chunnel.  So named because when the tunnel was opened on the same day the first breakthrough happened at the English Channel Tunnel, which was 30 October, 1990.  It’s the biggest and longest tunnel at the school, and people started calling it The Chunnel about the same time the thing was opened.

It keeps the students linked to all thing south of The Pentagram.  Chunnel AboveSee here:  when you look south, you see The Pentagram and the Old Classes to the left, the science centers, the Hanger, and the Aerodrome in the lower middle, the Flight School in the upper middle, and all the way to the right The Diamond.  From Founder’s Gate at the south end of the Pentagram Wall to the Flight School is about a kilometer hike over uneven ground.  And it’s raining hard.  Not a lot of fun to walk at the moment.

What are students to do?  Go underground.

Here’s The Chunnel is all its glory, running from Chunnel Belowthe Transformation Passage straight to The Diamond.  One thousand, eight hundred sixty meters long, twelve meters wide, seven meters high.  For those of you not digging metrics that’s six thousand, one hundred feet–or 1.15 miles–almost forty feet wide, and twenty-three feet high.  Everything is connected, so all the students have to do is hit the cut-off tunnel from The Great Hall’s lower levels to the Chunnel, hang a left about six hundred meters along, and trundle over to the Flight School.

It’s quiet, it’s fairly warm, there’s romantic low lighting, and most of all, it’s dry.  You can’t even hear the storm raging overhead because you’re under a several meters of granite.  Along the way two more characters will put in an appearance, and then we get to . . .

Are they going to fly in this weather?

You never know.


A Leaf on the Wind

If you were in the Chicago area yesterday, you experienced some incredibly weather early in the morning.  For about thirty minutes, it was pretty much a downpour, with lots of wind and lightning.  The Real Home is up around there, somewhere to the east, and it got caught in the deluge.

From what I was told later, it was pretty bad.  Tuesday is Garbage Day for us, and everyone had their stuff out, so that ended up all over the streets.  The neighbors had up a canopy, and that ended up in our yard–and may have damaged one of the arborvitaes that we use as a natural fence.

But according to the wife and daughter, our big tree, the one at the front of our house, the one that was there, maybe a year old, when we moved in eleven years ago, took two lightning strikes, and went down.

My daughter is pretty upset over what happened.  She wanted to know if there was any way it could be saved, even though–from what I understand–half of it came down during the storm.  It upset me as well, because . . . well, I get attached to things.  Of course there isn’t any way to save it, because it’s been split to hell and gone, and the only thing to do now is cut away what’s left, and have it hauled off.

I have some unusual feelings about this.  Like I said, I was upset yesterday.  To be honest, I’ve shed more than a few tears over the fact that our tree is no more.  You would think people shouldn’t get upset over a tree.

I’m not like most people, in case you hadn’t noticed.

It used to be that, in China, most people thought a dragon lived in every mountain.  Here, and a lot of other places, there are many who think of trees as having spirits residing within, entities that are part of the natural order that surrounds us.  Now, I’m a rational person; I’m not suppose to believe in spirits in trees.  And yet, I can’t help but think the tree was looking out for us . . .

See, it’s wasn’t one of those really tall trees, not like the ones in the back.  It was low and very spread out, with thick foliage.  On a hot, summer day, it gave great shade, and more than once, when I needed a break from mowing, I’d go lay down in the grass, stare up into its limbs, and gather my thoughts.  It was very comforting to be there, feeling cool and relaxed, and I’ve ideas come to me while I was there, gathering my strength.

We watered it in the beginning, pruned it when necessary, and, if I can be so open, showed it a lot of affection.  I love having trees around a yard.  Every time I see a house go up a property that’s had every tree cut down prior to construction, I want to find the owner and beat them with a lead-filled rubber hose, because they’ve desecrated their land.

This tree was only about as high as my house.  The house had as good a chance of taking the strike as the tree–and there were two strikes, from what my daughter said.  If the house had been hit, we probably would have lost all the appliances, the daughter’s computer–maybe the place would have caught fire and burnt down.  That’s all very possible.

And the tree, or the spirit inside, or both, decided, “I got this.  Don’t worry; you’re going to be safe.”

It took the strikes, and died.

Like when The Doctor lost his sonic screwdriver in The Visitation, I feel like I lost an old friend.  I’ll go home tomorrow afternoon, and see it lying upon the ground.  I’ll be home Friday, and the service will come to remove it, to take it away, where it’ll likely be chopped up into mulch.

But while the service is there, they are going to dig us another hole, a foot or two away from where our tree used to stand.  We’ve planted two other trees since moving in, and they’ve grown tall and strong.

We’ll do the same Friday.  As soon as everything is clear, we’ll plant another tree, and help it grow, and let it take its place on the corner of the yard where everyone can see it.

I’ll make another friend.

‘Cause that’s just the way I roll.