Lester Howe, seen here amidst some phenomenal wallpaper, was a tremendously intrepid spelunker. He discovered what came to be called Howe's Caverns by crawling through the dark on his hands and knees, deep into a cave that we can now trot through quite unmessily. A cave that I did trot through on Friday, accompanied by four artists and one great guide named Guy. In which I noticed that rock formations can look surprisingly like flowers.
Another luxury that Lester didn't have, at first, was a gondola ride down the dark, clear lake in the middle of the cave, with its treat (perhaps not as rare in Lester's day) of total darkness at the end.
When I say total darkness, I mean complete and utter absence of light. I mean the kind of darkness in which the brain begins to play tricks very quickly. I mean H.P. Lovecraft's kind of blackened space. Who would imagine that any plants could live in this environment? Yet the deeper we got into the cave, the more thick and beautiful the moss colonies and lichens became, cropping up predictably near every fake-rock wall sconce. Plants themselves are so intrepid.