Journey to the Center of the Earth

It’s been a long full day. But at its beginning I got my daily spiritual email that advised each of us to learn something new each day.  The spiritual master, Anthony DeMello wrote:

“The most difficult thing in the world is to listen, to see. We don’t want to see. Do you think a capitalist wants to see what is good in the communist system? Do you think a communist wants to see what is good and healthy in the capitalist system? Do you think a rich man wants to look at poor people? We don’t want to look, because if we do, we may change. We don’t want to look. If you look you lose control of the life that you are so precariously holding together. And so in order to wake up, the one thing you need the most is not energy, or strength, or youthfulness, or even great intelligence. The one thing you need most of all is the readiness to learn something new.”

I thought, well, that’s just what we are going to do today. We are going to see something new and learn something new about what we are seeing.

2016-09-07-08-59-01-2It was an early morning roll out and on the road so we could make the 4 hour drive through more of “Cowboy Country” to get to Great Basin National Park. There was an awful lot of scrub grass and sage brush, but today not a cloud in the sky and a very, very straight road with a speed limit of 70 mph.

2016-09-07-10-28-21We made a hasty stop at the only “rest stop” along the 4 hour route and it was a monument to the Pony Express Riders who carried the mails before telegraph linked our country from coast to coast. 2016-09-07-10-32-08What a strange and barren landscape it seemed, with warnings to beware of rattlesnakes as you approached the Porta Potties!!

Stopped by some road work, we were afraid we would not make our scheduled time for our tour of Lehman Caves in the Great Basin Park. But, we need not have worried. We made it with 10 minutes to spare. Just enough time to make a “rest” stop before joining the group.

2016-09-07-14-20-532016-09-07-13-57-02Sixteen of us gathered with a park ranger and walked into the middle of the earth. It was stunning. There are almost no words to describe it. 2016-09-07-13-40-46And, the pictures do not do it justice. It was so unexpectedly beautiful. We walked down about half a mile into the caves, 300 feet below the surface at the lowest point we were allowed to go. Near the beginning we saw some bats flying around a small opening to the sky. After that the only light available was from some LED flashlights and the occasional camera flash.  The experience was so unfamiliar that it challenged the senses as we walked on and on into the depths. There is more beauty to creation that most of us can see – and it is usually covered in darkness. Quite a lesson to look for the beauty around us that is clearly visible in the light.

Coming out of the caves we were famished, or at least “peckish” and had an impromptu picnic of cheese and grapes we had in our cooler in the car.

Another hour’s drive and we were back within reach of civilization in the town of Ely, NV, where we checked into our motel and asked directions to someplace hearty for dinner.

2016-09-07-17-54-42We ended up at the Cellblock Steakhouse in downtown Ely and thoroughly enjoyed both the meal and the surroundings. We sat in cell block 4 and ordered steaks that would make your mouth water. They were excellent! Where better to find a great steak than in Cowboy Country, I ask you?

2016-09-07-18-28-36We reflected on the day and enjoyed examining the furnishings of the restaurant. Neither of us knew anything about the Great Basin – especially how “great” it actually is. It includes the Great Salt Lake Basin, and I did not know that by definition, a “basin” means that the rain fall does not flow out of it – but either seeps into the soil – which is one of the ways the caves are created over millions and millions of years, or collects at the bottom of the basin in a salt lake.

Even though the light was waning, I HAD to take a walk and explored the parking lot of the motel until I accumulated a 2 mile distance. It was much needed after such a lovely dinner; after such a lovely day.

So, the message for today:  learn something new. Go someplace new. Allow yourself to be moved and changed by the grace of what you see and experience.2016-09-07-14-21-04