Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Light at the End of the Tunnel (01/23/14)
TITLE: Under the Surface
By Richard L. Provencher
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Sweat exuded from our pores. Would the cage-elevator hold us safely? What if…? As if reading my thoughts the foreman cheerfully said, “This shaft goes down 8,200 feet.” Now fear added to ear problems. We pressed tightly together and worried even more. Our foreman called out, “500 feet, 1,000 feet,” until we arrived at a final destination of 2,500 feet.
All the way down the shaft, descending into darkness, we encountered a covey of dimly lit lamps attached to the walls. An array of lighting from the Crusher room was now difficult to adjust to. A group of men already lined up for a journey to the surface tempted me to turn around and get in line.
In the center of the room was a steel gear about fifty feet in diameter and rose like a behemoth, with wide teeth on its edge. Two smaller gears in descending size were fitted into its edge in order to power the larger one. This huge space was quite noisy as rocks from the copper vein were ground into much smaller pieces and returned to the surface to be melted down. We gasped in amazement.. “God, give me strength to last out the day,” I prayed. Especially since I suffered from claustrophobia and this was not really the place to be.
If only I was back on the surface. Our city of Rouyn-Noranda in Northern Quebec was 350 miles north-west of Montreal and dependent on this major employer, with 800 working men. I knew the mine opened in 1927, and later discovered it would operate continuously 24/7 until lack of mineral in 1976.
The day passed swiftly as we worked tidying up, and learning from seasoned workers by observing the operations we were being trained for.
Finally, a siren sounded and we prepared for the return journey. Hallelujah. After the huge space we worked in all day, our cage seemed fearful. It seemed to sway with effort as it slowly climbed this tunnel of darkness. My eyes followed dim lights showing the way. Up and up the tunnel we went, until a brilliant light filled our cage. We were home. I am sure it will be like that when we travel through the tunnel of life, and Jesus is waiting to welcome us home---for He is the Light.
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