This section was very much a transition to launch the characters toward The Ravine. I promise, next Tuesday we’ll catch our first glimpse of the city. Still, during the transition I wanted to do some character development of Jeremy and further explore the divide between Riverside and The Ravine. Let’s unpack.
Jeremy gets the shivers
The combination of wet clothing and a cold rain sent Jeremy into the beginning stages of hypothermia, which Walter thankfully spotted. It seems like a small thing, but he is the only character to suffer this way even though the entire party is exposed to the elements. Why is this?
Jeremy’s body isn’t accustomed to this type of exposure. Wherever he’s from, he’s been shielded from the elements in a way the rest of the main characters have not. It may seem like a minor point, but it highlights how sheltered Jeremy has been compared to the people of The Valleys.
Walter wasn’t the only one who spotted the issue. Michael has experience with hypothermia due to his work with the guards. He’d never seen it happen on such a mild evening, and was quite shocked at it’s onset.
The restorative Ama gave to Jeremy was almost left behind. The story thus far has been taking place in very early Fall and she initially thought she wouldn’t need it. Now she’s glad she brought it with her.
First and Second Light
Much has been said in the story about how Riverside doesn’t get along much with “The Cracks” up at The Ravine. This dynamic probably springs from my own cultural background. I grew up in the Greater Philadelphia area 1, and always felt the pressure of living under the shadow of New York City. This never seemed fair to me, and a lot of Philadelphians harbor some resentment toward New York – which seems to view Philly as the ugly step-child of the Northeast Corridor. I have said on many occasions, as New Yorkers dismiss Philly, “We are not the sixth borough!”
I am proud of my home town and it’s rich cultural offerings and vibrant history 2. When people remind me of the celebrity-watching you can do at any New York event, it only deepens my resolve. Philly is just more real to me, and doesn’t require glamour. New Yorkers may defend their town as “The greatest city in the world.” That’s great, and they are welcome to their opinions. Give me a Philly soft pretzel any day of the week.
This is the dynamic which exists between Riverside and The Ravine. The people of the Inner Valleys unjustly label Riverside as uncultured and “rough.” Now the “rough” persona 3 has partly been encouraged by the people of Riverside, as it puts others off their guard. Mostly, however, the people of that town resent the assumptions others make about them 4. First and Second light are reminders to the rest of The Inner Valleys, but especially The Ravine, Riverside is potent presence among them. The park which surrounds First Light draws people from all over the Inner Valleys for summer concerts, and has no parallel in their larger neighbor 5. The people of Riverside take great pride in pointing out, “This is our space.”
Second light serves a similar function, on a clear day the spire on the hill can be seen from the walls of The Ravine, some 20 miles distant 6. It’s a reminder which says, “We are here.” The two buildings serve as a visitor’s center for the greater Riverside area 7.
I realized Terrin wasn’t speaking all throughout this passage and wondered why. It turns out he’s trailing back about a half-mile to make sure the group isn’t surprised by anyone coming down the road. He missed the exchange about Jeremy’s status, and halted when he saw the party stop because he didn’t want to close the gap before reaching Second Light.
- And I was born in Philly. ↩
- Of the two cities, one was where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed. The other was the base of operations for the British during the Revolution. ↩
- In Riverside, as in Philly, that’s would properly be pronounced, “A-tee-tude.” ↩
- For a real-world parallel, listen to every snarky insinuation ESPN makes about Philly, and understand they’re lying through their teeth. ↩
- The reason for this is practical, which we’ll see in a couple of weeks. ↩
- Jeremy didn’t see the light until they were close because it was swallowed by thick clouds. ↩
- I highly recommend the Winter Solstice light show, it’s found in a large store near the center of town. ↩