The Meteor

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Long-time readers of these pages will know that the "great outdoors" holds few temptations for me. This attitude originates from my youth. After one especially dismal boy scout camping exercise, I made one of those life-changing pacts with destiny that boys on the edge of manhood are sometimes said to make.

In my case I promised my body that, if it remained true to me, I would never again subject it to camping.

Both parts of that bargain remain unbroken. One of my life's goals is eventually to die in an air conditioned room.

I have occasionally deviated, however, just far enough as employment demanded or in order to take advantage of some truly unique sight. On one such occasion I made the trek to Arizona's famed "Meteor Crater," found in one of that state's more remote quarters, high on the northern plateau. The location is reached by a modest yet serviceable road built for the purpose.

The crater is an impressive sight. Situated far from the commonly accepted definition of "civilization," it is attended by a well-appointed visitor's center. There one can learn about the crater, its ancient and modern history, and likely origins. As no one frequents the place except tourists, you can get a flavor for why professional tour guides are underpaid regardless of what they earn.

One lecture commenced with the following, directed toward a gallery filled with eager visitors:

"The crater was formed when a lump of nickel and iron, roughly 150 feet in diameter and weighing 300,000 tons, struck the earth at about 40,000 miles an hour, scattering white-hot debris for miles in every direction. The hole measures nearly a mile across and is 570 feet deep."

Somewhere from within the assembled company, an amazed voice was heard to murmur,

"Imagine that, and just missed the highway ..."

----------------A Final Thought ...

"In the middle ages people were tourists because of their religion, whereas now they are tourists because tourism is their religion."

- Robert Runcie (b. 1921), British churchman, Archbishop of Canterbury