Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October 13: Emergence

I haven't been closely following all the details of the Chilean miners who have been trapped underground for nearly seven weeks, but I knew they were being rescued ahead of schedule, with the first miners emerging today. I had also read one story about a miner who included both his wife and his long-time mistress on his list of three people he was allowed to invite to the rescue staging area. His wife said she was glad he was ok, but she was definitely not going to be there. I don't know what it says about me or the media that that's one of the few personal stories I know about any of these 33 men.

While running on the treadmill at the gym tonight, I caught about ten minutes of the CNN coverage of the rescue and found it quite moving. They were in the process of bringing the 27th miner to the surface. CNN was reporting that most of the miners were in good general health and in good spirits. The mood there was appropriately celebratory. Even the news guys sounded a bit awed and excited by the whole thing. The CNN team were evaluating what sorts of perks the miners would receive. Apparently, they've already each been offered $400,000 by media for their story. They've been offered opportunities to endorse everything from mining equipment to chocolate bars to sexual enhancement vitamins (now there's an ad I'd be curious to see!) A mining tycoon is giving them each $10,000, and the government has pledged to support them till they're ready to go back to work--though I can't imagine many of them intend to go back to the mines.

It's amazing the amount of trivial information you can learn from watching tv for ten minutes, even if you're watching an important news story. And we're so used to it that even the most emotional stories leave our heads more quickly than they should. So after I got off the treadmill, I forgot about the miners. Until I left the gym, emerging tired and red-faced from the humid basement locker room into the crystal clear evening. I took a deep breath of the fresh, clear air as I stood and slowly turned under the wide open, pristine night sky. There's no way I can imagine being trapped underground for even seven hours, let alone seven weeks, but for a brief moment, I felt an elation that might have been the very, very faintest fraction of an echo of what each of those miners felt as they emerged from the capsule. Air. Space. Room to breathe. Freedom. Relief. How easy to take all this for granted. Gold Jupiter shone brightly on the horizon, and a waxing crescent moon emerged from the trees. I thought of those miners all the way home.

Look at all the stars!
33 miners emerge
under a wide sky.

No comments:

Post a Comment