Chapter Four

Even in the darkest, deepest depths of the world life permeates the vast corridors of space. Water will seep into every crack. It will whittle its way down into the crevices of the Earth, penetrating porous bedrock, slowly, steadily. Through rigorous struggle water will break down layers of rock, turning limestone into underground constellations. Life will emerge. Unknown creatures will adapt and flourish. Bats will fly. Insects will crawl. Dark, damp, and cool.

Before opening the door to the darkness we looked at each other with fixed, bolted eyes. Her softened features coaxed submission, relentlessly pleading ease, reassuring our unity. She carried tunnels as well. A dark past filled with strained emotion. Like I, deciding to relinquish them, banishing them to the far reaches in the non-space of temporal fixation. But to vanquish means to confront first.

Together we lit the deafeningly blackened cave with dim headlamps. Hand in hand we slowly descended down into a series of meticulously blasted tunnels. At first I shook with a nervous fervor, anxious of breathing toxic thoughts and ancient memories. Exposing love to this world feared me the most; a once conceived angst assumed only death may follow. Slightly trembling, clammy fidgety hands pulsating, heart beat throbbing along the median nerve.

Both of us pale with immediate exhaustion, pent up on calibrated calculations of what may set ourselves off, or each other. What we may find could deteriorate and destroy the bond that we bandaged with upmost surety. But bandages are external. We both knew firsthand that one cannot stop the bleeding of a shredded heart or esophagus with sticky plastic and gauze. Like burning the inside layers of the upper mouth, tonguing it provides immediate relief but softens the tissue even more so. To heal, to dress the wound properly we must accept the pain, let it run its’ course pragmatically.

We ripped off the bandage and hurried down into the deepest corridor of the den. When we emerged, we shined our lights spastically. What we saw in the Great Hall was beyond our impossible imagination. Clusters of stalactites and stalagmites burned through our eyes with blazing beauty. Each one entirely different and unique, creating a musical of our muted past with organ pipe like structures. The headlamps refracted images off the formations. There seemed to be a natural equilibrium to the chaos of our minds.

I once conceived the world linear, where all actions and reactions flowed into the next; a past, present and future reality. In the depths of the cave I have learned a new existential realm. Whole bundles of matter from the past have run an entirely separate course. They have compounded onto each other, breaking down weakened emotions, encrypting themselves in a layer of sedimentary cylinders. In those times each tunnel was biased, possessing entirely subjective points of view. They were founded in darkness, cast aside left to wither in discriminating elements.

Silently the objective side found life. It was encouraged by the force of water to break down negativity, to crystallize truths, and to create beauty. As we walked together, hands interlocked, I no longer was afraid. We went to the tunnel of death. It did not reek. It did not haunt. It was transformed into a sculpture of statues. Every death seen for what it was. This room was the most breathtaking of all. It harbored my world. It captured the breadth of a staggeringly traumatic youth. No longer a place of grief and unjustness; now it is a palace of beautiful memory.

In the cave we saw unforgettable moments that were long forgotten. There were stretches of time where I felt lost, entrapped in the cave with wonder. Times where I wanted to stay and feel everything forever. After a long experience my lady spoke to me. She reminded me that in overcoming darkness we may visit these caves from time to time throughout our lives, but in the now we must live. Above ground, on our mountain, that is home. The truth of this did not disappoint. It was well versed and incredibly understood. I have found peace.

The tunnels that once brought me down into self worthlessness and personal deception, cracked with layers of impulsion and paranoia were broken down and crumbled into a shallow hallway of dripping pools. The pools were waterways straining the past, sifting though negative layers and dispersing the energy into a more surreal image. The images reflected enlightenment, creativity, desire and passion. Whichever way we turned the water and the darkness worked reverently to redefine ourselves.

After meditating in Mammoth Cave we were swept away in the Cave of Wind. Detailed box work hung from the ceiling reminiscent of filing cabinets for relics. I thought of the storage room filled with torched memorabilia. Did it all burn? In the ashes of disheartened anxiety, like the Phoenix rising to remanence, a plethora of beautiful thoughts emerged. There were outlines of memories encrusted around the framework. All the minute, irrational details stripped, dusted out by time and insignificance. The signature idealism of what was, was all that’s left.

After these encounters I was convinced of the developmental change. Together we have done the impossible in the name of love. I could not have been awakened without her. I could not have been awakened without me awakening. I for myself, I for her. Her for herself, her for I. To be one is to be three. Three broken down into elements of the world: (1) in the core of the earth, our internal caves or thoughts, (2) on the surface in the sea, all life begins, forms and becomes one, (3) at home on the mountain, understanding ourselves, our aspirations, and truthfulness for all life.

When we emerged from the depths of our fractured pasts we became more than what we were. Going into our caves together and coming out more surer of ourselves emphasized the symbolic nature of contemplative growth. I learned that I am not alone and do not need to live in fear anymore, of anything. I am free from the world and I am free from myself. Finally.

Chapter Five