Am feeling a little unsettled this morning. It’s been a while since I’ve donned my gear and spent a morning spelunking in Heart Cave. You see the cave of my heart is not a place to take up permanent dwelling. It’s a necessary shelter when I feel as if I need to learn Something More about myself, if I’m feeling stagnant, or if I’ve slipped back into old patterns of behavior that aren’t particularly good for me. My hope is that I will come out with a bit more understanding, a new piece to the puzzle that is me, and then take that wisdom with me as I make the next leg of my journey.
I’ve noticed lately I’m starting to replay old tapes in my head that I thought I’d managed to erase. (I guess my head is more like my laptap. Nothing is EVER really erased!) My self-talk has become increasingly negative again in spite of being immersed for the last six months in an atmosphere of acceptance and encouragement here in the blogging neighborhood where I’ve felt welcomed and inspired. That being the case, maybe I’m due for a visit to figure out what has derailed my progress… So I’ve loaded up my back pack, put on my tool belt, grabbed my flashlight and jacket, and am headed in.
As I’m standing in the middle of the cavern shining my flashlight around and wondering what, exactly, I’m looking for, my attention is caught by all the inscriptions on the walls. I remember seeing the same type graffiti (though it wasn’t called that back in those days) in Mark Twain Cave in Hannibal, Missouri (at left) when we took the kids there years ago. The first organized tours
of the cave system that inspired so many of Mark Twain’s writings were organized in 1886, and some of those inscriptions predated even THAT year. It’s chilly in those caves! The average temp was 52°. It took us about 90 minutes to make the walk.
At one point in the tour the guide had everyone stand still and the lights were turned off so we could experience how it must have been for Becky and Tom when they were lost in the tunnels. Da–amn! Talk about pitch black! You could NOT see your hand in front of your face. Have to admit it was a little bit uncomfortable. Couldn’t help but feel a certain amount of anxiety. The kids thought it was deliciously creepy. I believe that’s called a generation gap…
Standing here in MY cave (with my trusty flashlight, I might add), I gaze at all the words, sayings, pleas, words of regret, advice, well wishes, curses (yeah, there’s probably some of them, too), signatures, and even some elementary drawings that have been left by folks who have journeyed through my life and my cave and left behind a bit of their presence — some a lot, some hardly at all.
School teachers have scribbled many a note. Mrs. Gourley, my 9th grade English teacher who pushed me into reading the classics which I fell in love with. Mr. Hawkes, my sophomore chemistry teacher who saved my butt from having to repeat that nightmare class. Mrs. Smith, my second grade teacher who told me I should try writing more…
There are inscriptions from extended family — my fondest being my Aunt Frieda who always insisted on calling me Cherry because my hair was pretty dern red when I was little. My Uncle Don who was so much like my dad I could barely tell them apart. Aunt Delores who was really into the supernatural and extraterrestrial realms and scared the beejeebers out of me more than once!
There are best friends and a few friends who took great pleasure in turning my life upside down. There’s a special wall for family, and one dedicated to Kim. There’s no one like her in all the world. And look! There’s some new writing from folks I’ve met on the blogs. Plato, Fim, Jane… I’m rambling…again.
I guess I got so caught up in being reminded of all the wonderful folks who’ve traveled my path with me, who’ve been so supportive of me that I forgot why I’m here. Coming into the cave of my heart isn’t a frivolous pastime. It’s a necessary part of my being now, like breathing and eating. It’s a place for me to ponder and sort out not just what’s wrong in my life, but also what’s right. Or why something that seemed to be going so right, suddenly went so wrong. Now let’s see… Where would I start searching for that?
Life is weighing on me today. It’s a time to think and ponder about pushing through some of the tough places in my life. I’m just going to plop down on the rocky floor over here, lean my back against the cave wall, get still and listen to the drip, drip, drip of the backed-up rain that’s seeping into the cracks and crevices of the cavern. Perhaps I’ll even turn my flashlight off, too, and just chillax for a bit. There’s no danger of getting lost in here. I’m beginning to know this place like the back of my hand. Well, certainly a lot better, apparently, than Tom and Becky knew McDougal’s Cave.