House of Stone and Light

"Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness."
- Desmond Tutu.

We followed up our big Sproul adventure on Friday with two days in the Quehanna Wild Area. We went to a favorite car camp spot we know, one we've been going to for much of the past 30 years. It had been very chilly on Friday, but the forecast for the weekend included some cloud cover that was expected to bring warmer temps, with predicted overnight lows in the 40s F.

We got to our campsite and parked the car, then put our boots on and grabbed our daysacks and chairs and headed down the hill for a hike. Crossing the creek at the bottom was a bit dicey, as the water is running high, but we made it. (These are some of the tests of wilderness: Can you hop across a few wet rocks? Can you walk across a slippery log?) And so then we sat on our chairs and listened to music and enjoyed the afternoon sun.

I went exploring nearby and came across a fascinating and somewhat grisly discovery: two sets of deer rib bones, completely bare and bleached white, stashed in two nearby trees. I admit I have never seen such a thing before, and it provoked some very interesting conversations as to the who, what, and why of how they got there. It was like an exhibit of the macabre. An offering for a Wendigo, perhaps. ("Identical elevated abdomens," my husband offered sagely, attempting to describe the exhibit in as few words as possible.)

I was fascinated by the bones and took many shots of them in different light. A macro shot of the bones was nearly today's Blip (I wanted to call it Cathedral of the Bones), but my husband convinced me that this bone fascination I suffer from (I think of it more as an impetus toward natural history) is probably a niche market thing, and perhaps best kept to myself, so I will try to oblige. So you can thank him - I used this photo instead.*

And then I went down around the front of the rocks to a cave we already knew was there. In fact, we may have even camped inside it or nearby it once or twice in the old days. I have hazy recollections of being beset by porcupines at night, though, and indeed, even now, fuzzy poo (or some may prefer to think of it as "sign") in the corners of the cave marks their presence still.

I spotted the old remnants of bed springs that have always been there, as long as I can remember. My flights of fancy want to give this cave a tale of thwarted lovers, or of cops chasing robbers, with millions in gold stashed somewhere in these rocks. But the truth is (much like the elevated deer bones) I have no idea how the bed springs got there, or when, or by whose hand.

It is not a big cave by any means, and you could not get lost in it. What I did notice, though, perhaps most of all, was how dark the cave was, even on a sunny day. But looking through the darkness, I could see clear across, and waiting for me on the other side of this house of stone were my beloved, green Pennsylvania woods, bathed in the beautiful afternoon light.

The song is Martin Page, with In the House of Stone and Light.

*Note (added later): Thanks to Blip's brand new "extra photo" feature, I have been able to add the Cathedral of the Bones photo that I mentioned above. Bone enthusiasts, enjoy!

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