“Here we go, down Dante’s Inferno,” I joked as we wandered into the bowels of Earth. Although New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns is our third cave national park, it was the first one where I could feel the sharp descent into another world. A well maintained trail leads you down, down and down, 750 feet in 1.25 miles.
As we descended into the darkness and wandered through artfully placed lights, I realized my joke was wrong. This didn’t feel like an inferno. I realized we weren’t in the “bowels” of anything. No, we stood within lungs.
Deep down there in certain spots you feel the Earth breathing. Of course there is a scientific explanation for the winds felt in these passageways, but I felt captivated, as if caught in someone’s rhythmic meditation.
The cave is not a dark, dead place.
It is a living, breathing force changing at every moment. All those sculptures rising from every surface – they are magnificent – they are alive. From the looks on faces around me, I knew I wasn’t the only one entranced by this wonderland. Many find inspiration in the crevices of these caverns.
After a day beneath the surface we hiked back above ground and came across the Advice from a Cave by Ilan Shamir. He took the inspiration from a cave and translated it into some words to live by, as he has with many other natural features.
These are the words of the cave:
Find beauty in unexpected places
See the hole picture
Good things take time
Look beneath the surface