There’s a cave, far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. A cold, dark, old cave on the side of a mountain that no one knows about…Well no one except one person.
The journey begins as you are driving down a smooth paved road that leads out of town and civilization. As the city buildings become more faded in the distance, you are now faced with what I like to refer to as ” a whole lotta nuthin”.
The drive, which takes a couple of hours is met with nothing more than trees and grass along the side of the road at first, eventually leading to just grass, and then just dirt. Every once in a while, you see a small mountain off in the distance, but it’s nothing extraordinary by any means.
Eventually you come to a bend, and the smooth, quiet road bares off to the right and keeps going on and on into the distance. To your left there is the makings of a barely visible old dirt road, more like a wide path really.
This is not a well-traveled road. In fact, there’s only one person who even knows it exists in the first place. If you weren’t looking for this “road”, you’d never know it was there.
As you turn left and continue driving, you notice how bumpy it is. It’s full of pot holes and uneven ruts that have been created over time from the occasional rain storms. The kind of storms that would cause flash flooding and mass erosion, but quickly leave almost as fast as they arrived.
The rains gave way to the hot sun, which baked the dirt and hardened it into nearly impassable trenches.
There’s no real reason for anyone to take this journey; and for anyone that ever would have tried, they would have turned back almost immediately after starting.
After several miles, the nicely paved road well out of sight behind you, you come to the end. There’s no official sign to indicate that you are at a dead end, the road just stops. Off to the left is a large wooden branch that is noticeably standing straight up out of the ground.
It’s held up by a pile of rocks to keep it in place. This is the type of old branch that you’d find if you were out hiking and needed a walking stick.
This walking stick of sorts, placed there for a reason, indicates that whatever motorized transportation you utilized to get to this point is no longer a viable option. It’s time to start walking.
Off in the distance you can see a mountain, miles and miles away. Standing between you and this mountain is a barren, rocky, wide open space of nothingness. There’s no path, no signs, natural rock formations, or anything noteworthy whatsoever.
All you have to guide you is the moonlight and mountain off in the distance to focus on.
As you begin to walk, the rocky path becomes increasingly more difficult. Even the most seasoned hiker would have problems keeping their balance without that walking stick to help steady their balance.
There’s no cool stream to stop and drink from, no shade from the sun. If not for the occasional weeds sticking out of the ground you’d think nothing could ever survive here, much less thrive.
The mountain is coming more into view, but it’s not a destination anyone would really look forward too. There is no lush green grass, no trees at the base, it’s just dirt and clay and shale rock lining the side of this natural formation.
As you gaze upwards, about 2/3 of the way up, your eyes stop at the opening of a cave. It’s the only sign shelter around since you left the main road all those miles back.
The mountain is steep, but manageable and the cave is accessible if you want to press on. Still though it’s no easy trek, especially after the exhausting hike you’ve endured already.
The only reason you’ve made it this far is because you are with me, as I am the only person who knows of this place, and I chose it for a specific purpose.
As we begin walking up the mountain, following what could barely be construed as a winding path, the mouth of the cave becomes closer. It’s nothing spectacular to behold but it’s the first sign of anything even remotely interesting that you’ve seen for hours.
Finally, the path stops and here we are, looking in to the dark, quiet, emptiness.
I know what’s inside, and for the first time I’m allowing someone else to see what’s inside too. Before we proceed any further, you need to know why we are here.
Looking into the cave, which isn’t any more than about 75′ deep, you can see a wall that reaches all the way to the ceiling. It doesn’t seem natural though. Rather than just assuming that this is the back of the cave, you get the feeling that this wall was created on purpose.
What is it hiding though, what is behind all those rocks and debris, so far away from anyone or anything?
Well, it’s something that I have kept hidden away for over 40 years. Something that has been buried behind a wall of memories so deep and so painful that even the very thought of it sends chills down my spine.
In an effort to not deal with those memories, I chose to hide them away so nobody could ever find them. I suppose in hopes that even one day I would totally forget about them and just be able to move on with a “normal” life.
As you walk closer to this barrier of memories, you see a small opening just large enough to put a hand through and you begin to hear the faint sound of a child softly crying.
What’s behind that wall is my largest fear…the thing that’s at the heart of my traumatic past.
My inner child.
This was a very deep, difficult, yet therapeutic story to write. Inner child work is at the heart of so much of our recovery. The work of rescuing that inner child continues, and I know that there is hope.
Images courtesy of Pixabay.