Recently I received an e-mail reminding me of a summer I spent in Oregon half a century ago. Fifty years ago, in the summer of 1961, I served as a chaplain and cave guide at Oregon Cave National Park. Four or five times a day, seven days a week, during my three months there, I guided groups of tourists on an hour and a half tour of the cave. It was my job as cave guide to point out stalactite, stalagmite and flowstone formations, fungus and algae, bats and all the other material, plant and animal life in the cave.
Toward the end of the tour, we'd come to a large room -- about one-third the size of a football field. The room was 3,300 feet into the cave (more than a half mile) and 186 feet below the surface of the ground. When everyone was in position in the room, we would turn off the lights and show people what that portion of the cave was really like in its natural condition … in total darkness.