There is an unattractive cave some miles up the mountain. There, (despite grotesque and inanely dancing spiders who weave dense webs and clearly wave red flags of danger), very fine things await the more intrepid.
After I slogged through darkness, foulness, then another long section with more darkness, I arrived at a very comfortable reception area. A concierge greeted me with a knowing smile. A happy look of a person who had triumphed, for the moment, over an adversary, and his shoelaces were 8/10 muddy. The lavender velvet chairs under the paper lanterns of the welcoming room were mostly vacant, stately as they were.
The notable quiet in the room, despite great marketing and advertising, is probably an indicator that people are not reading the reviews fully, or at all. Perhaps they speed past the mouth of the cave of motorbikes and cars, anxious to get on with their day, or perhaps they have many children, or maybe someone they know is busy dying, or maybe they need a smoke, or maybe they just aren’t into this Lord of the Rings nonsense, or maybe or maybe or maybe. There is little indicator that we in the U.S. of A. have prevailing penchants for feel-good, artisan, high-end caves.
I can understand that, but there’s lots of room in here.
Soon the concierge and I had a budding friendship. I no longer dreamed of my life before the cave. If I stayed put in here, though, would my skin turn ghostly white? Would my eyes atrophy from disuse like so many things that dwell in the blank parts of the world? Wouldl I be so changed that if I go stumbling off to the road to flag down my brothers, I’ll appear unrecognizable as an ambassador to cave-life, but highly identifiable as an unincorporated nation, a fortress against commonality?