Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A long way down with no way out

For those of you who have spent some time underground - whether in a cave, or in a mine - you know that you can never experience more complete blackness than when you turn off your lamp. Your eyes strain to pick up one stray photon ... but there are none. It is a strange uncommon sensation.

As I write this, there are 6 men underground in a Utah coal mine who may be experiencing that same blackness. If so, that's a good thing, because it means they're alive. Yesterday there was a cave-in at the Crandall Canyon coal mine; it happened at the same time that a moderate earthquake was registerd in the area. Right now there seems to be an argument as to whether the cave-in was responsible for the seismic shock, or an earthquake resulted in the mine collapse. For the six men down below, the answer to that is the least of their worries.

Rescue workers at the surface estimate it will be three more days before they can reach the area where the men are thought to be. Five days (total) is a loooong time to be alone in the dark, with nothing to do but wait and think.

About all any of us can do is to remember that these and other miners put their lives at risk every day to give us - individuals and society - the raw materials to live comfortably and prosper. Think about these coal miners and their families next time you flip the switch on a light or an appliance.

Thanks guys. We're cheering for you.

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