A photo of the canyon yesterday. As a matter of fact that stretch of pipe that you can see clearly in the upper right corner is the stretch that is giving me trouble. When you are walking down, there is a great deal of air out there on your left side. (Slideshow here.)
I find my reaction to it is different on different days. On some days I can inch out onto it a little way. On other days I cannot even stand to look at it. Must have something to do with biorhythms or moods or something. Which leads me to this theory. Famous incidents of cowardly behavior are probably only that--incidents. For example there was the managing director of the White Star Lines who clambered into one of the Titanic's lifeboats after elbowing his way through 2,200 other passengers.
Or there is Muammar Gaddafi who, in spite of all his big talk in advance, hid in a drainage pipe.
Or General Hull, who only thought he was surrounded by native American warriors during the War of 1812 and then surrendered Detroit without a fight.
Or Ted Kennedy, an otherwise good man who left while the lady drowned.
Or all those boys from Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota who hid on the riverbank while the Battle of Shiloh went on above them.
To name just a few examples.
It is possible that many famous cowards were not really cowards at all. They were just caught out on a bad day for them . . . or a bad night, as the case may be. Stephen Crane's class, The Red Badge of Courage, is all about this very thing.
Here is what the pipeline looks like coming up the canyon from the other direction at the end of the stretch that is mounted on top of piers and just before one gets to that bad spot.
The Mexican laborers who welded that pipeline together and mounted it under the rim of the canyon were not an overly fearful lot. Here is a toggle still embedded in the rock along the rim of the canyon that was undoubtedly used to secure whatever platform was suspended up there for them to work on.
I put up some other photos of the pipeline, "El Conducto," today on the other blog, too.