aka The Frazzled Mom
Under…water. Under…ground. Whatever it may be, it can cause fear (some say irrational one). Flying over the waters of Alaska, a friend has a fear of what waits below: sharks, barracuda, etc., etc.
A lot of my posts lately have pointed out the problems, at least that I have, with the unknown. I know I’m not alone. What waits for us in the future? The fear of “what if” can be paralyzing. Unable to prepare, not knowing if we’ll be able to handle the stress, the potential problem or survive the pain and/or loss…
Years ago, I’d seen a movie that obviously made some sort of impact on me and not necessarily in a good way. The characters were exploring a cave and running into a lot of trouble has they discovered what was actually living underground, within those caves. In part, that might have inspired my short story “Under”. By the way, the story is available for free through Smashwords. Click on the book cover to head over there and download your own copy to read.
The underground can be a frightening place. For anyone that suffers from claustrophobia, it’s something to be avoided. Dark, cramped, stuffy, stifling, I could go on and on.
When heading underground to explore the lava river cave in Flagstaff, there were moments when I was frightened. My son, in his zeal to explore, had pushed on ahead, leaving me to stay behind with my daughter. She needed extra help getting down into the cave. Winter hadn’t quite ended and a lot of the entrance rocks had ice on them. Not wanting any broken bones or twisted ankles, I painstakingly sought out stable rocks, climbed down, then turn and assisted her in following my exact footsteps. If she strayed in either direction, she slipped.
Minutes passed by to nearly an hour and I still hadn’t caught up with my son. Worry turned to panic and, not knowing of my thoughts, my daughter was resigned to call it a day. The thought of her brother truly being gone wasn’t really something that had registered. Surely, he’d be up at the top waiting for us when we were done. Mom knows better. So we continued on, calling out for him. The sound didn’t echo and travel like in typical caves. It fell flat. I wanted to run, but that wasn’t an option.
Eventually, we caught up with him. His foot was stuck after a small rock had fallen down where he’d stepped. Freeing him, we took a moment to sit and just take in the surroundings. As the fear in both of us subsided, we felt confident enough to shut off our flashlights and truly realize how far underground we’d gone. It was incredibly dark! No shadows. And no sounds. There were other hikers in the cave, but I honestly couldn’t hear them until we were a few feet within earshot.
When we finished out trip, we headed home and took a detour on Route 66. It was out of the way and added roughly an hour to our drive time, but I thought, When would we ever get a chance to do this again? So we stopped by Peach Springs (aka “Radiator Springs”) and headed down to the caverns. As much as going underground makes me nervous, there’s just something so cool and amazing about caves and caverns.
From now on, when I’m heading out on a family trip, I’m going to make a point of exploring new places.