Cave Art and the Modern Girl Scout

This weekend was spent making like a snake at Bluesprings Cavern Park in Indiana, slithering in and out of passageways sometimes knee and elbow deep in water, crawling commando style over over rubble rock, or crouched in a room with a low-hanging roof and hearing the surprisingly comforting drip drip of a leaky faucet that wasn’t a leaky faucet but instead water filtrating from the surface a hundred feet above us. The Girl Scouts and attached adults such as myself ended up tired, dirty and wet, but exhilirated. Changing into dry clothes we spent the night in a large hollow area above a subterranean waterfall, startled a bat hibernating just over our sleeping heads, and came out into the morning sun a little surprised to find the sky so far above us.

The experience has filled my head with a new appreciation for the cave art found all over the world. (There was none at Bluesprings unless you count nature’s intricate carvings of it’s own natural materials). Ten thousand years ago, people blew soot around their hands, hundreds of them, and left a highly personal mark. Kilroy was here; the first Kilroy, long before anyone could write Kilroy, maybe not much longer after human beings learned to communicate by speech, calling each other by names. Surely these early artists had names.  Naming appears early, often first in our mythologies, and from there a desire to leave that name, to leave a mark.

Sharks. Jets. Mary loves Joe. This room was funded by a generous donation from Mr. and Mrs. William Smith. I am Kilroy. I was here.

And here I am, ten thousand years later, blowing ash around my hand to leave a mark. My name is Denise Thea. My cave wall is cyberspace.

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