I’d written a blog that said I wasn’t going to blog anymore. My life is too normal, too put-out-the-trash everyday. But, during the delay between write to release, I realized that it doesn’t have to do with having extraordinary tales. It simply has to do with laziness. I like feeling connected with the people I love on the other hemisphere. For right now, that means being a cyber geek, even though I’d truthfully much prefer sitting over a mocha, a microbrew, a chocolate dessert to tell stories and get my greedy fix of theirs. At least I know that if you are sick of Cindy Twisting and Typing Ceaselessly Around the Globe, you can click the X. : ) I’m also secretly hoping that a tourist company will eventually give me money for plugging their attractions. And then let me do more for free. : )
Two days ago I hit one of the biggest tourist spots in New Zealand: the Waitomo Caves. Missed on my previous trips, a co-worker suggested it for our holiday weekend and gave me the job of reviewing the tour options. As a poor listener who really couldn’t take another cave trip with droning facts about how many years of drip drip are behind the stalag-a-titey-miteys, I advocated for “The Black Abyss.” This is an “adventure tour” with a lot of impressive gear requirements–neoprene, webbing, little clicky gadgets, mental defense against phobias, and, of course, a chubby black innertube. After a quick abseiling (aka rappelling) lesson while we sweated in wetsuits in a paddock, we lowered ourselves 37 metres through a narrow neck into the Ruakuri Cave. A zoomy little zipline in the dark, and we were at the start of our path, a hill of innertubes waiting. Wetsuits thick, but water colder, as we sat with our legs swinging over the water, I thought I might be crazy to do this and concede to blue lips for 3 hours. But, true to Kiwi style, we were served hot coffee, tea, and biscuits on our perch and eventually gained gumption for leaping into the eel-inhabited water.
What followed I will forever remember as one of the strangest, most entrancing traverses of my life. Flapping slowly on our tubes, we floated under high, low, narrow, and wide cave walls dotted with thousands and thousands of little lights. Glow worms. Little magical maggots who cast out fine threads to catch their food then shit out a bright shine to attract attention. Getting that graphic information didn’t spoil a bit how absolutely hypnotic it was to see them clustered around the cave in abstract constellations.
I don’t really think I “snapped out of it” for the rest of the trip—even while staggering down the “Passageway of Drunkenness,” or climbing up the waterfalls to the cave’s exit. I have so many mental “happy places” where I can dispatch my mind whenever needed that I could divide into different categories: “so peaceful almost pulseless,” “stifle a snicker silly” “no place like home,” and beauty scenes of every brand and breed. This memory definitely qualifies as a “happy place”–my bum poking into cold water while my eyes find dragons and ladies in tutus drawn in the lights. It’s an image that may help me fall asleep faster, tune out long checkout lines, or maybe see pretty patterns in the stacks of charts on my desk. OK, I’ll have to work on the last one.
It is written on the arched sky; it looks out from every star. It is the poetry of Nature; it is that which uplifts the spirit within us.” John Ruskin
Tags: Black Abyss, Black Water Rafting, New Zealand, Waitomo Caves