For Boo, one of the highlights of our Pittsburgh-Philadelphia trips is counting the tunnels on the turnpike. There are, for those who are uninitiated to driving either way on this 359 mile stretch, four tunnels that one must traverse to blast through obstacles in one’s way.
Boo loves going through these tunnels. If he’s awake, he makes a grand announcement each time.
He’s fascinated with the idea that we’re actually driving through a mountain. (Which, admittedly, is kind of cool.)
On our last trip to Philly (just a month ago) he was full of questions about the tunnels. He thought it was amazing that someone (actually, many someones) blasted their way through the mountain to make our path easier.
He was full of questions.
How long did it take to make the tunnel, Daddy?
I don’t know, bud. Probably a couple of years.
Did it take a lot of people to help?
Oh, yeah, absolutely, I bet it did. A lot of strong people.
What would have happened if they didn’t build the tunnel? Would we still have been able to get home?
Sure. But it would have taken much, much longer. We would have had to go all the way up and around the mountain.
I listened to this as I drove us through the tunnels, through the mountains. Through this talk of tunnels, I was thinking of tunnels of a different kind – MRIs, CT scans.
A month ago we could see the tunnels and mountains in the distance that are in front of us now. It helps to remember that a lot of strong people ahead of us forged paths through medical research and technology and science to allow people like us coming afterwards to blast through and come out onto the other side.
We talk about The Husband’s Stage I thyroid cancer as being in stages itself. The biopsy was one stage of this process. The surgery will be the next. The recovery and then the iodine radioactive therapy, the next two stages.
Tunnels and mountains.
But here’s the thing about the tunnels along the Pennsylvania Turnpike that we travel so often between the home of our birth and the home we’re making now:
They’re not dark. There are lights inside those tunnels, guiding the way.
Just like the people who blasted their way through however many years ago.
Just like the people who are helping us to find our way through now.
photo taken by me at the Delaware State Fair, 7/31/2010.
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