the Fairy Caves
The little girl clutches her father’s hand in a death grip as they make their way down through the darkness. “I’m scared of the monsters Daddy”. “No need to be frightened little one, all that are down here are fairy’s. Don’t you see them?” The girl sees nothing, not even her own skin. She starts to cry. The father grabs his coffee can lantern, strikes a match against the cool rock earth, and lights the candle. The coffee can has punctured holes, and when the candle is lit, the light illuminates shining, dancing figurines on the walls. He shakes the can, and asks, “Can you see the fairies now?”
This heartwarming true story from the first discoverer of the cave is told as we are immersed in total darkness ourselves, with our Cave Guide lighting his coffee can at the appropriate time so we can see our own “Cave Fairies”. First found in 1897, and initially opened to the public in the 1950's, the historic Fairy Caves of Glenwood Caverns have the charm of a place not trampled by the masses, with enough natural phenomena to delight any person interested in what lies below the surface of the earth.
You come across illuminated passages with replica Edison light bulbs, learning that this cave was one of the first in the US to have electric lighting installed.
The darkness and mystery though of the cave encase my imagination, and soon my mind envisions stone walls being replaced with prehistoric bones and alien formations. Pools of dinosaur saliva and ancient teeth gnaw at the subconscious. I whirl in the black dreams of the underworld.
We find a tunnel with light at the end, which breaks my imagination for a moment as we get a breathtaking view of the town from a hole in the side of the mountain. A few minutes later, and we return to the darkness to face what each of us keep in our blackest of places, hoping to find a little light. I swim through the black.
Originally published at www.mywalkabout.net on July 8, 2015.