NOTE: Mike Carter sent me this text at my request, because I wanted to work on a poem about caving. I liked his text so much, I asked him to let me publish it here. It also gave me the idea to start a series of guest articles, entitled, “For the Love of …” Some other friends have agreed to write on motorcycling, hunting, and running. Mike is a deacon at the Somers Avenue congregation in N. Little Rock, Ark.

FOR THE LOVE OF CAVING
By Michael H. Carter

Mike Carter examines a stalactite

Total darkness is so black you can feel it. In big rooms the darkness swallows all the light you shine on it. Trying to understand the shape of a void may require walking around for hours trying to get your perspective. It’s a three-dimensional maze usually. It is difficult trying to understand the layout when various levels of passages crisscross each other and meander in strange, unpredictable ways. One snake-like tube may cross around over and under itself like a pretzel. Sometimes the best way to describe it is like walking around inside of a wadded-up garden hose, with several adapters coming off of the hose into other hoses at random points. It tires the mind.

Going where no man has gone before is a great thrill. These passages weren’t made for the ease of humans. Sometimes you must slither through keyholes. Sometimes you are wallowing through soupy mud. Sometimes you are swimming through cold water at 55 degrees. Continue reading