Sunday, August 5, 2012

Hearing the dark

The great heart of Timpanogos Cave
I noticed something was a little different about the group behind us in Timp Cave when they didn't step forward to make their introductions.
When it came to be their turn, I waited because the order of things seemed to be going around that way and I didn't want to be rude.
When nobody spoke, I just went ahead and jumped in line. The people in question didn't ever say anything.
Eventually we realized they were deaf and hadn't heard us. Our first clue was the fact that they were signing to one another.
Don't step in. A natural pool inside the cave
Then later, we heard the rangers talking to one another about whether or not someone should warn them about what happens around the next bend.
See, there's this moment inside the Cave when the rangers turn out all the little guide lights and show you just how completely black it would be inside this mountain.
Absolutely no light seeps in. You can't see your hand in front of your face and more importantly, you can't see where you're going to step next.
It's usually very dramatic and works well to illustrate what the early explorers faced when they wiggled their way into these beautiful and unique caves.
We cling to one another.
Even small children fall silent for those couple of minutes.
However, in this particular instance the deaf folks didn't get the memo.
As soon as the lights went out, they helpfully turned on their cell phones to light the way, turning them this way and that.
Ranger Molly tried to get them to understand that they were sort of ruining the moment but they couldn't see her in the dark. She tried to wave but to no avail.
Beauty in the cave, Don't touch.
They also couldn't hear her and they didn't notice the rest of us trying to let them know the phones should go off.
It was truly a conundrum.
No one could get their attention and Ranger Molly finally had to conclude her little speech with "Well, if it were completely dark..."
Perhaps we should have texted.

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