Tag Archives: Field Museum

Snowflurries in Chicago

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A week in Iowa, with family I see not often enough. An Aunt that I’m having an amazing time reconnecting with; a Cousin who is such a sweet young angel with so much potential; Great Aunt and Uncle that I had heard stories of but I’m barely just getting to know. These things are both fun and difficult, because families are difficult, especially when they barely talk for nearly ten years. Sometimes its hard to talk to people when you have been disconnected for so long; there are a number of conversations that I would have loved to have had with my Aunt that simply never made it out of my mouth.

With a few blessing and some delicious snacks, i left my Aunt’s house New Year’s Eve, for Joliet, Illinois. I spent the evening alone in my room with some breadsticks and my computer, waiting for the drunk people at the end to finally stop partying. I had a date, you see…

Noon on the First of this New Year, I am in Chicago, a fortyfive minute drive. I have come to see the Field Museum. There is a special exhibit about whales, chocolate, being a bug, and Tibet.

One of the things I love the most about museums is the way people move through them; you can tell the type of person they are from how they speak to their companions, but that doesn’t matter when they are going through an exhibit, because they will always to one of two things: they will bump into you and apologize, whether its a gruff ‘sorry’ or a profuse ‘oh mah gawds are you ok” its the same reaction; or they will try to not be touched at all in the tiny spaces and not say a single word when they make any sort of contact, accidental or otherwise; several people tried to sneak past me while I was reading a description of Aztec-styled chocolate drink, and none said anything. The best place to watch this dance of to-touch and not-to-touch is from above. I stood on the upper level looking down at Sue, the T. Rex, and her flock of adoring human animals. It was as though I could predict which ones would scurry fitfully past, and who would try to be in their way.

Another thing about museums: you remember just exactly how small you are, and where your ignorances lie. The reconstructed tomb and Memphis market of ancient Egypt were almost boring, I have seen so many. Once you’ve seen one taxidermied animal, there aren’t many you want to see. The Whales Experience was truly a gift: sacred animals on display as a notion of international conservation (the Sperm Whale had stranded itself, and belonged to his tribe, and this was to educate us about the threats to marine life) and collected artifacts that allow us to look into another culture’s way of life. Cocao makes men just as crazy as it does women when they don’t have it: the seeds were part of the currency for the central-american tribes, and the Aztecs conquered areas just to have it shipped to their city where it doesn’t grow. Its astounding the things that a civilization will do for a commodity that select few are allowed to enjoy. There are so many correlations between the US and the Aztecs that I’m beginning to wonder of we are not more like them and not the Romans; there is a serious difference in how hard a distinction that makes, whether or not we are civilized and depraved or simply conquering for the blood’s sake. Depending on when you view us the answer is not so clear at all. I’m still undecided, and I think we need some other civilization to be compared to, as neither of these had very good reputations at all. You are who you act like, no?

As I left the museum, I felt refreshed and open. The long halls of herd-earned knowledge, the glimmering gems, the painted displays, they have a wonderful calming affect upon the soul. Driving towards the skyscrapers of this exceptionally windy city, i saw ahead of me white streaks across the road. Cold, hard snow. It blew across the ground, unable or unwilling to take purchase on the cold cement that is Chicago. It was beautiful too see when the city blocked the wind. I gave up on finding the Thai restaurant my GPS told me was in the area; the buildings blocked its signal, so I drove in a few circles, and the drivers around me were making me crazy. They would hump the white line while waiting for the light to be green, and tried to crowd you; there were so many honking horns and middle fingers all around…

I left Chicago in a hurry to get back to my hotel. the Windy City leaves no wonder to its name: once out of the City, you are subject to the winds abuses, which are many. My car was like a ping pong ball between my two white lines, while my vision was fighting with my mind about how to handle driving with the snow that thankfully didn’t stick to the ground. It was as harrowing as paying $3.60 for gas. I had to go to a small town named Oak Forrest, to the Circle K/ Shell, and paid $3.32, the cheapest in this area by about $.10. Good grief!

As I write this, I have my first Long Haul ahead of me. Twelve hours to Chester Springs, plus stops. Its going to be a long day, and I’m going to get either very bored or very frustrated. This though will help me set pace for the rest of this trip; I will be able to make adjustments to my schedule as needed. I can only hope there are more and better radio stations to the East, as all of the ones here are terrible, and my CDs don’t give me the weather or the traffic. We will see if they Faery can keep herself focused on the road this long…

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