In the Cañon

I'll miss this tree As some of you have pointed out, it seems no one is at the controls of the Omegaword blog anymore. While this isn't entirely true, it also isn't completely false. It's just that life has taken a somewhat unexpected turn, and I'm fortunate to be spending the summer working for a park ranger in one of the more attractive settings in this part of the world.

Although this new adventure hasn't left much time for writing, I do plan to check in here a bit more often than I have of late. There are stories to tell, and it wouldn't be right to deprive you of those just because I'm a little bit tired from watching my boss carry railroad ties up steep mountain trails while fending off angry bears with his free hand.

During the summer months, vacationers from every corner of the globe seek out the shady tranquility of the picnic areas located throughout the park. Many are situated next to the babbling brook that runs through the cañon, which is an obvious nuisance where tranquility is the goal. Consequently, one of my primary job functions is noise control, which means I stand in the water and tell the brook to shut up.

The multipurpose machine Another important part of my job is traffic control. Speeding through a narrow cañon creates a hazard, especially during those crowded summer months. As you might expect, a Caterpillar 430D is a highly effective weapon in the battle against renegade motorists. Its turbo-diesel engine provides all the power a guy needs to flip even a large SUV onto its side, while the backhoe is useful for removing the roofs of smaller vehicles.

I can't say I'm an expert at the controls of that powerful yellow machine, as the tree pictured above would tell you if (1) it could talk and (2) were still standing. While I can neither confirm nor deny any involvement in its disappearance, I can say with some certainty that finesse is especially important in the world of large hydraulic machines.