The old man told me there was a cave . . .

The old man told me that there was a cave a few days by canoe down the river. “It’s a big cave, the kids will love it, but it’s hidden by the woods. The only way you can tell it’s there is from the creek that flows out of it down to the river. Good, cold water,” he added.

I went back to the group of twelve students waiting on the gravel bar. In a moment we pushed off to begin a week floating down the Buffalo River in northern Arkansas. I wondered what to do about the cave. I love caves, always have–the intrigue of finding one, and then the reality of exploring it, never knowing where the claustrophophic passages might lead, the thrill heightened by stories of treasures, skeletons, and unsolved mysteries. Caves hold a high position in my adventuring mind. I almost mentioned this one to the group as we set off in the canoes. But I held back, thinking that such an announcement would send a few students into a hell-or-high-water race to the cave, possibly creating an obsession for the next few days at the expense of everything else this river and its banks had to offer.

Three days later we rounded a bend and there, emptying into the river was a creek, clear and cold. I suggested we pull over and send some people up the creek to refill our water bottles. I smiled when, moments later, the forest reverberated with their shouts of “Cave! We found a cave!”

an excerpt from One Thousand Moons, Eddie’s book of images and essays. © Eddie Soloway

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~ by eddiesoloway on July 1, 2008.

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