Unedited, as it arrived on the page:
Caves make me think of solitude. Natural shelters from the wind and rain. Hidden crevices.There’s one called Hell’s Hole near my own hometown. Caves behind waterfalls. There was one in Texas, in the Hill Country, that I remember exploring with Bob and Matt that Labor Day weekend when Bob borrowed a TransAm from someone in his research lab and put close to 1200 miles on it over the 3 days. Bitchin’ Camaro he seemed to be saying every time I turned around. What were we doing in that cave, that crevice, inching our way in, as far as we could go? At one point, I remember having to turn sideways and stoop to keep going as the cave closed in. It was one of those times I probably should have been scared but wasn’t, felt foolhardy and safe for no rational reason.
Plato’s Allegory of the Cave says something about ignorance and unknowing. But I prefer to think of caves as places of deep knowing, of solitude, stillness, silence. The dark has its own dimensions that become apparent only when we move out of the light, away from the cold intensity of exposure and brash brightness.
Sleep is a cave, feathered by dreams. Caves in time. Silence is a cave. Caves hold what cannot be said or seen. Storehouses of song before voice, of memories who have not yet found a resting place, of blankets, of acorns.
I remember climbing up the wooden ladders to Ceremonial Cave in Bandelier. They call it something else now – but to me it will always be Ceremonial Cave. There is a sacred Kiva built in the cave. A manmade cave within a natural cave.
I am no stranger to the curve of a cave, having learned young how to scan the border between the foot of the mesa and the rise of the hills for caves – naturally formed in the volcanic rock, enlarged by man’s hands with stones scraping away at the soft ash, ceiling blackened by fires, making a space, a home.