Monday, August 20, 2007

There are worse things than commuting...














One of the MSN headline stories this morning is “America’s Costliest Commutes”. This is a topic that I know a little bit about, because I commute over a hundred miles round trip each day to my job.

Friends ask how I do it, and tell me they’re glad it’s not them doing all that driving. It’s not my favorite thing, I admit, and I also admit to dreaming about having a job I could walk to. But...another story in the news this morning is about the Crandall Canyon miners, and the disastrous, frustrating, heartbreaking search for the six missing men. Three of the rescue workers were killed in another cave in on Thursday, and this morning one of the officials conceded that the missing miners may never be found.

It’s all I can do to look at the pictures of the conditions under which miners go to work each day. The picture above is from a video shot taken by a remote camera that was lowered into the Crandall Canyon mine last week, that shows part of the shaft and some miners tools.

Two summers ago, on my way back from taking Mike to his freshman year at UA, I took a road trip by myself, and stopped at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. Carlsbad Caverns is a national park; nothing like the Crandall Canyon mine, except that of course, both places are underground. Like many visitors to Carlsbad, I walked down into the caverns, a soujourn that takes about an hour, and in which one descends approximately 79 stories, from the cave entrance to something called the Big Room. From there, I took the Big Room Trail, and walked around that for another hour or so. By then I was hungry, but although there’s an underground lunchroom where visitors can eat, after being underground for just a couple of hours...and this, admittedly, on lighted trails with high ceilings and lots of other people around...all I wanted was out. I’m not claustrophobic, and yet somehow it felt terribly oppressive to me, being beneath the surface of the earth, and I was grateful for the elevator that whisked me back to the surface...

My heart goes out to those miners and to the families of all those men...

6 comments:

Tammy said...

Dave is so happy to end his 4hr daily commute! YUCK!

I'm very claustrophobic and really wanted them found. The owner has many mines, some of which received many violations. I hope he makes it safer some how.

Amen!

HUGS to you!

Diane said...

I'm praying for the miners too. didn't know about all the violations. It's a heartbreaking situation.

Jan said...

What a long commute daily?? I did that twice a week for a few years while I was going to seminary in San Antonio. I wouldn't want to do it everyday.

I went to Carlsbad Caverns when I was 9 years old and we were moving from VA to CA. I'm glad you mentioned your visit there, so I could relate more to the miners around the world who are working underground and those who are imprisoned there.

Dave said...

Many year ago as part of my then job, I had to go into an Appalachian soft coal mine. The seam at best was five feet high. I was going to look at a continuous mine machine that had been flooded at the end of the dig.

The mine operators were non union in the State of West Virginia, and I visited during a strike, while this mine was still operating.

As we left their office, after having been loaned hip waders, they "strapped on." Remember Starsky and Hutch? That kind of weapons and a few long guns. I told them if they wanted me to go to the mine, the armory was staying home.

It did.

We walked bent over for about a mile throught the seam till we got to the face and then walked back.

One of the most uncomfortable experience of my life.

Chris said...

I feel for their families as well, especially the three rescuers. I was afraid something like the second accident would happen. But honestly, I was aghast that after the second fatal accident, families were still demanding that more men be sent into the mine to retrieve the bodies. That mine needs to be sealed as a tomb and no more lives should be risked.

Carol Gee said...

Thanks for helping me readjust my perspective. This such a sad episode in a long list of mine tragedies.