Down a Cave

I dont know why I always imagine caves to be cold, quiet places. While the temperature change is indeed impressive, in my limited cave experience (two caving trips and way too many tourist-based commercialized caves), they have never been quiet. There has always been the echo off the walls, the drips of water, the flow of a river. And on Saturday, there was also the deafening roar of a waterfall.

My hobby is clearly mountaineering. I prefer the view, the fresh air, the fact that I don’t need to mind my head all the time. I don’t enjoy relying on a small lightbulb attached to my head for the entire excursion, and I perpetually worry that I am going to touch something fragile and permanently ruin it. Nevertheless, I currently jump at every opportunity to get out of the city and this week offered me the opportunity to visit a large cave near Crissolo, at the mouth of the Po. This cave is a very accessable walk of a cave, with pathways, metal railings and high ceilings. You follow the river up through various caverns, above and below fallen rocks and stalactites and finally reach a large open space. Here, three waterfalls fill the air with a light spray. As you tilt the light up into the darkness, the water particles look like snow, whirling around your face against the darkness. 

I was suddenly reminded of a winter walk in the Carngorns, where late one night I walked out onto the hillside and stared into the night: but instead of the silence of snow, all around me was the noise of rushing water. Just like on that night, we took our time to breath and observe. We traced patterns with our lights and thought our own thoughts, before quietly making our way out. Maybe I imagine caves to be quiet because that is what I become. I take my time suddenly to try and understand the world around me with so many of my senses turned off. And yet, I think that I preferred the silence of the snow- I still prefer the outdoors!

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