So I promised a blog update about my trip to Enchanted Rock in March. As you can see it’s taken me quite a while, and it’s probably going to be a two-part treatise. The truth is, I didn’t want to write about it. For some reason that trip, as amazing as it was, seemed like it was rubbing me the wrong way every time I thought about it. I think I’ve finally realized why.
While I was at the park, I had the fantastic experience of going caving for the first time. It was a small cave; it probably only took me and my two guy friends around 20 minutes to go from entrance to exit. I’m going to admit that it was a pretty scary experience for me. We were clambering through the pitch black with nothing but headlamps and a general idea that we probably weren’t going to die. The cave was extremely slippery and on several occasions I hit my head, elbows and knees on rocks (yes, we were unprepared with elbow/knee padding and helmets. I’ll remember that for next time). I managed to keep my cool with the help of my friends Austin, who was very patient with me and Lee, who decided to spontaneously burst into an acapello version of Lil Wayne every time I would start to panic.
Now, I realize I may come across as kind of a wimp. Let me assure you, this cave was rather dangerous. There were plenty of tight spaces to squeeze through and slippery shelves of rock to slide down. The part of this experience that scared me most was that I was never completely sure where to put my feet. There was a lot of blind scrambling to find foot and hand holds and a little bit of unintentional sliding toward dark abysses.
After it was over, Austin said something to me on the drive back home that really made me aware of myself. We were discussing my first caving experience and he told me that every time I get into a situation of fear or uncertainty, I harden up and push through, no matter how scared I am. He was right, and I’ve slowly realized that the past eight months of my life have felt like a dark, slippery cave, and that’s why I’ve been so resistant to talking about Enchanted Rock. The geography around Fredericksburg, Texas is one of the most beautiful landscapes I had ever seen. Contact with the natural world and the experience I had there with my close friends was a powerful force of spiritual and personal revitalization for me.
Those few days were an amazing escape from the mundane. It’s like asking a man who’s spent the last eight months in a cave to talk about the three days he was released to see the sun.