What is a cave?
A cave is a deep, dark hole in the ground, a hole with a lid, so that only a special few can get in or out. A cave is a dare, calling to you, saying, come explore me if you can muster up the courage to do so. Most proper caves, you see, go miles under the ground and get dark, very dark, so, one hundred percent pitch black that you would forget you have eyes if you went down without a light.
A proper cave also has precarious precipices, that, if not careful you could stumble off and plummet out of existence. Most caves traditionally have bats living within the topmost chamber, so that when you’re on your toes on the edge of a particularly precarious precipice you can worry about getting pushed off the plummeting peak to your imminent destruction.
There are, however more non-traditional caves, caves that have been turned into convenience stores, night clubs, and even lavish mansions. These cave are sellouts. They go from a dark hole with a lid, itching to be explored, to a place where you can buy crappy snacks and energy drinks. There are more un-traditional caves that have not sold out to mountain dew kickstart and redbull. The ice cave near the Mutnovsky volcano in russia is, well, made of ice. The cave looks kinda like being in giant meringue, the light shines off the glistening snow and looks like a christmas display, but underground. Another majestic, yet non-conforming cavern is the Batu cave in Malaysia, the home of an indian temple, built inside of the cave in the 1880s. Festivals are still celebrated in the cave. The kyaut Sae cave in Myanmar has a buddhist temple inside it, but we know little about the place as almost no one goes there.
There is one thing, however, that a cave can never do; a cave can never lose it’s mystique, it’s magic. I will always have an awestruck spell on my face when I enter one of these deep, dark, magical places. A cave, no matter what people are selling out of it, no matter who lives in it, will always be more than a mere novelty. A cave is something that sends prickly chills down your spine and forces you to adventure, to romanticize, to make your exploit bigger and more dangerous than it really is. And that, is exactly what a cave cannot do.