October 31st, 2006

ozarque figure

Caves....

This morning's "National Geographic Expedition" on National Public Radio was about caves in Tennessee, and it got me thinking...

If you look out the front door of my house you can see the entrance to a cave on the bluff across the river; anybody sitting in that entrance can look back and see my front door, which is in some ways also the entrance to a cave. [Posts and comments about my underground house are at http://www.livejournal.com/tools/memories.bml?user=ozarque&keyword=Living+underground&filter=all .] Our youngest son used to explore that cave on the bluff -- tying one end of a skein of yarn to a rock stub outside and taking the yarn with him so he could find his way back out. Not an activity that would appeal to me, especially since you never know what sort of animal you'll run into in an Arkansas cave, but he spent a lot of time that way.

Our area is honeycombed with huge caves, most of them not mapped or explored. When you're out setting fenceposts and as you dig a hole the auger just drops flush to the ground, you say, "Oops .... cave!" and move the post somewhere else.

I got lost in a cave once, when I was a child -- Mark Twain's Cave, in Hannibal, Missouri. My elementary school class (fourth, fifth, and sixth grades combined in one room) had gone on a field trip to Hannibal to see all the Mark Twain/Tom Sawyer/Becky Thatcher/Huck Finn places, including that cave. There was a boy in that class that I "liked" -- which was what we said in those days instead of "had a crush on" or whatever it is you say now -- and he and I were sort of hanging back at the end of the line going through the cave. We hung back a little longer than was wise, and found ourselves all alone in the pitch dark with no sound except dripping water.

We were rural kids, used to being on our own in all sorts of places; we had better sense than to try to go anywhere. We just sat down on the floor of the cave and waited to be found. It was pleasantly creepy, and a good time was had by all; my classmate passed the time telling me ghost stories, and we held hands -- a first for me.

We were in big trouble later, of course, since our group didn't find out that we weren't with them until everybody had finished the tour of the cave and gotten back on the school bus and we didn't answer when they called the roll. They had to get a tour guide to go back into the cave after us, and our teacher had, she said, "never been so humiliated, or so shocked, or so embarrassed" in her entire life before.

I've very efficiently suppressed the memory of whatever our punishment was; my guess is that we both first got paddled at school and then got a supplementary licking when we got home. That would have been appropriate for the time and place, and is what I would have expected.

No problem. It was worth it.
ozarque figure

Recommended link; framing an alternative...

Chris, at Mixing Memory, is in the early stages of a collaborative research project he describes this way:

"I'm working on writing up a lengthy description of an alternative to Lakoff's political theory, mostly because I feel guilty about doing little more than trashing it without offering anything positive to the discussion." You can read the current update at http://scienceblogs.com/mixingmemory/2006/10/a_framing_analysis_project_upd.php .

This is going to take a while, but it will be worth watching, reading, and keeping track of. Recommended.