Twiggium — Chapter 3

Chapter 3 — Cobbled Cobblestones

The morning breeze caught Sanotehu’s wings and lifted her higher. She flapped swiftly in three strong strokes, maximizing the updraft and granting her a better view. Lignumholtz village had been architected in a hexagon design, with the open courtyard of the marketplace at its center. Sanotehu looked down to assess her prospects for an easy breakfast. At the center of the market area was a fountain, that was said to have been built atop a deep well. Luckily for Sanotehu, a number of food vendors had again claimed the prime spots in a ring around the fountain. She spied an opportunity where a chef had turned the back on their foodstuffs to tend to a customer. Sanotehu swooped down.

Six streets led out from the market toward the centers of the six outer walls of Lignumholtz. The humans who worked in the village, with very few exceptions, nested outside this walled honeycomb of stone. The six-sided structures of Lignumholtz were for construction and commerce. Sakalina had entered the market along one of the six stone pathways, and was departing along another. Buildings filled in the wedges between these major streets. The walls of the buildings that faced the market yard formed six flat faces. Thus, if viewed from the air, as Sanotehu had before her descent, the rim of the fountain, the edge of the market where the buildings began, and the outer wall of the village, would be seen as three concentric hexagons. The six major streets were paved with cobblestones, as was the majority of the marketplace. Between these streets, narrower alleyways passed cross-wise through the six sectors of town, and in some cases bisected the wider parts of the wedges closer to the outer wall.

A couple of years earlier, Sakalina had been told in class at school that the major streets of their village were aligned on the apothems to each side of the outer wall. She had raised her hand and asked the teacher what an apothem was. In response, the teacher had asked Sakalina if she knew what a radius was. While Sakalina’s answer regarding the bone in one’s forearm next to the ulna impressed the teacher, it was not the answer he had been looking for. Regardless, he had then asked her another question which would indulge further distraction.

“And how is it, Miss Ramita, that you know so much about human anatomy at your age? We certainly haven’t covered that yet in school,” Mister Logan asked.

“It’s where I keep my knife when I’m harvesting,” Sakalina explained. She tapped the sheath with her left hand. ”It’s called a radius knife. It’s not wise to wear your knife on the ulna part of the arm, because it you graze it on a branch, it could slip out. I prefer to avoid catastrophe whenever possible.”

Mr. Logan replied. “That is a good idea. Thank you for the insights, Sakalina.” Seeing an opportunity to go one step further for the benefit of the other students, he asked, “And what do you call the knife on your upper arm?”

“That’s my humerus blade, Mister Logan.”

One of the students quipped, “It doesn’t look very funny.”

Logan ignored the comment and Sakalina’s resulting grimace, and attempted to steer the class back on track. “Does anyone remember the radius from geometry?”

Another girl who was seated near Sakalina raised her hand, and Mr. Logan pointed to her, saying “Alessandrea?”

Alessandrea answered, “It’s the same thing as Sakalina said, just instead of from your elbow crease to your wrist, in geometry, we measure the radius from the center of a circle to the outer edge of the circle.”

“Intriguing answer, Alessandrea,” Mr. Logan responded. “And a radius is not just for circles either. We can measure a radius from the center of any geometric figure to a vertex, one of the convex points on its perimeter. For a regular polygon, all radii are the same. So how about a hexagon? Can you give me an example of a radius?”

A boy in the back of the room raised his hand. “Ramaldo?” asked Mr. Logan.

“Aeriella Alley,” answered Ramaldo. “That runs straight from the center to the corner right near my mother’s factory.”

“Very good,” said Mr. Logan. “Thank you.” Mr. Logan looked over at Sakalina again, “So a radius goes from the center to the outer vertex or corner. An apothem goes from the center of the object to the middle of one of its sides. If you draw a line from the midpoint of a side, between two corners to the center, that’s an apothem.”

“Oh, so all six streets are apothems?” asked Sakalina. “Because they run from the center of Lignumholtz village to the midpoint of each wall, right?”

“Yes,” confirmed Mr. Logan, “to the midpoint of each wall.”

The conversation in Mr. Logan’s class had been two years prior to Sakalina’s most recent adventure in the market. Now Sakalina was on her way to another class. The subject was more advanced, the teacher was different, yet some of her classmates were the same.

•  •  •

About Brad Werner

Technical Evangelist
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