Thursday, August 5, 2010

Water and Light

I woke up this morning to the sound of rain. Lots and lots that pounded the balcony making a beautiful splattering sound. It was a relief to hear the rain, which you might think a funny thing to say when I am vacationing on a tropical island. It was a relief because the people in Bermuda needed it. Every house has a special roof that channels the rain into underground cisterns. If it doesn't rain for a while, the cisterns run dry which means no showers, no clean laundry, no running the dishwasher.

Before we got to the island, it hadn't rained in over two weeks. I felt so guilty taking showers in an ultra fancy bathroom when our friends Kris and Clarence were most likely taking sponge baths and wishing for clean cloths. But this morning, my worries were carried down the drains with the rain.

We decided that in spite of the weather, we were going to have an adventure, so we paid a visit to the Crystal Caves which happen to be right next door to the Mormon Church here. So odd, caves in the middle of a neighborhood, but there they were, at the end of a long path bordered with huge trees.

Have you ever been in a big cave? I love them -- that is when they are fully lit so that you can look around and see the natural wonders. They far surpass anything man made. Look at this ...... isn't this magnificent? Billions and billions of tiny drops of water made this and it took hundreds and hundreds of years.

The cave smells of minerals and dampness and the only sound you hear is the slow drip, drip, drip of water falling into the mineral pools. When the light illuminates the stalactites, it casts an ethereal glow that feels almost sacred. It's like being in the center of a diamond.

We learned that two boys discovered these caves in the early 1800's when they were hunting for a lost ball. They lowered themselves into the cave with a small lantern and what they saw is so different that what I'm looking at right now. I know because the guide showed us what the cave looks like by lantern light --- it's eerie like something out of Lord of the Rings. I felt like whispering "My Preciousssssss" but I didn't want to steal the thunder from our guide who was quite the comedian.

Before we left, we stood in total darkness -- the blackest of black darkness. It's quite frightening. We saw absolutely nothing. Not one speck of light, not one shadow of rock, or a person, or your hand in front of your face. The quite sounds of dripping water were replaced with frantic pleas "Turn on the Light!!! Turn on the Light!!"" Such a cold and lonely feeling. It only lasted a few seconds here in the cave. Can you imagine what it would be like to live like that all the time? Awful.

It takes work to get out of the dark. Even here in this cave. We had to walk up lots of steep stairs. Why didn't they seem so steep and long on the way down? I can never figure that out. I had to stop and rest more than I want to admit, but I did it, and I made it out into the light of day -- into the pouring rain with air that was fresh and clean.

It was beautiful, and the wet made all the colors of the trees and stone walls so brilliant they almost looked fake -- but not really. I could hear the singing frogs who lived in the trees harmonizing with the music of the rain.

It's amazing how things change when there is light.

Post Edit: I was pretty excited that I actually shot a decent photo inside a cave without a flash. Here's how I did it . . . in case you were wondering. I set my camera on the hand rail because I didn't have a tripod. ISO set at 1600, F-stop set at 5.0, Shutter-speed set at 0.8


Jenni said...

those are beautiful-wow (think i find myself saying that a lot while looking at your vacation pictures)!

Bethany @ Organic Enchilada said...

That tree is incredible! And you should totally be a cave guide. I would have busted up laughing at your comment!