And Now, The Lascaux Caves:
When Cad was a young boy his grandmother gave to him a comic book detailing the discovery and modern history of the Lascaux Caves. This network of labyrinths in Southwestern France is famous for it’s Upper-Paleolithic art featuring all manner of large mammals, both predator and prey and man who was both 17,000 years ago.
Cad read this comic book obsessively. He would read it during school lessons, during recess, and whilst shitting mightily into the family porcelain throne. Several teen aged boys whom today would have been diagnosed with ADD stumbled quite by accident across the caves and spent several months exploring them. The boys brought oil lamps and rope and explored the caves unsupervised and without helmets or even knee pads.
One scene stands out clearly in my mind: a boy rappels himself down a ledge but the rope is too short. He jumps, falls, and is not hurt. He relights his lamp and is overwhelmed with the grand scene upon a massive rock face in a room he calls “the cathedral”
The boys camp outside the cave through the winter and in one scene an older boy is enjoying a pipe in front of his shelter as a snow begins to fall. The shelter is warmed by a wood stove and catches fire and is burned to the ground but the boys escape unharmed. In time, scientists and government descend upon the cave, open it to the public, and then a great deal of mold starts to set in due to sunlight and atmospheric changes and to this day the cave is sealed and only opened sporadically so that a scientist may monitor the paintings to ensure their conservation.
The story invokes in Cad great feelings of nostalgia for boyhood, when the prime directive was exploration and discovery. I am jealous of the childhoods of men from earlier times; I would gladly exchange sesame street and a feminist mother for greater freedom and sporadic beatings by an empowered father.
As I sat down to consider what I would write about this evening, dear reader, the Caves at Lascaux quickly came to the forefront of my mind after lying dormant in my own mental labyrinth for some time. The caves contained secrets, beautiful art, proof of our earlier heritage which while always steeped in survival was lived by those able to create works of eternal glory which subsisted until they were discovered. Once their visions and knowledge were discovered, the art began to rot.
Are the paintings in the Caves of Lascaux not unlike the toil undertaken by Cad upon this blog? A reflection of an inner desire to show that I see? To transcribe my experience and vision for eternity? And should my (or Kakistocracy or anyone in his blogroll’s) identity be discovered, will not my livelihood and therefore my life be destroyed should I not erase all evidence of my vision like the mold that eats away mercilessly upon scenes of bison hunts in southwestern France?
I suppose it is better to love and to lose than to not love at all, and it is better that modern man was able to witness and document the art of the Lascaux Caves, but it is a dire tragedy that witnessing such a priceless memory is now causing it to whither away. Perhaps you dear reader are like those boys gifted with an exploratory nature who have made a discovery that cannot last. Perhaps western civilization itself is such a discovery! A grand system, which allowed us to see further into our world than any human prior, but which due to our obsession with seeing reality made too many of us too comfortable and too far removed from the reality that we are not very far removed from our tribal ancestry which thus left us vulnerable to attack by lichen.
Faithfully and Perhaps Temporarily Yours, Cad