I recently visited Arkansas for the first time, with Joe. It had been many years since he had returned back home to where he grew up and it was my first time meeting his family. During our time there we visited a cavern system in the Ozarks in the Northeastern part of the state. I’m going to be a little bit vague about exactly where we were because I want to tell the story of what happened without accidentally outing our guide.
How this visit played out was a beautiful example of synchronicity and following the signs. We showed up late in the afternoon and immediate found out that the next cave tour would begin in just 10 minutes, and we would be the only ones on this tour, because no one else was signed up.
Awesome–a private tour!
Our tour guide was great and after exchanging some pleasantries in the first 20 minutes or so, he mentioned that he has a special interest in folklore and the mythology around caves and the beings that are said to inhabit the subterranean realms. My ears perked up.
Ok, I can get down with this. Keep talking.
As someone who has been into “alternative” spirituality for a long time, with a special interest in direct experiencer contacts (those who have direct personal experiences with paranormal beings and non-ordinary reality), I tend to tune in when people drop hints that they are on the same wavelength, but in the Deep South (read: heavily conservative Christian), and on a standard public tour, I didn’t want to make any assumptions. However, by the end of our tour, I was pretty sure our guide was quite open to an expanded view of reality. In fact I felt that I needed to share a couple of resources with him that would allow him to continue his own personal search at a deeper level. So at the end of the tour we exchanged a few words and I wrote down a couple of things for him to look up where he might get some answers. He was grateful and acknowledged that he had been dropping hints to suss us out.
Yes, message received. Connection made. Information exchanged.
At that point he made some suggestions of things we could do while in the area, even going to the extent of making personal notations on a rough local map, indicating some scenic trails and circling one area, off of the regular path, that he said was “special”.
So, we drove off and went to one of the public scenic trails and it was indeed beautiful, but I couldn’t get the hand-drawn notes out of my head. We were about to go back to our car and head back home when I insisted that I wanted to try to find this “special” area our guide told us about. It looked to be not far, but it would involve crossing a small stream and going off-trail. Our map was very rough but I saw some rocks that seemed to form a staircase leading from the stream bank up to a steep slope and I felt intuitively that this is where we should go. We left our bags and our cell phones with Joe’s sister who wanted to stay behind, and Joe and I made our way to the rocks. As we went up the slope there was only the slightest hint of a path and we had to remove several large spider webs indicating that the way was not frequently traveled. We kept a lookout for snakes as we climbed, although it didn’t appear that we were going anywhere; it was just trees and underbrush on a steep slope. Suddenly, around a bend and further up the slope, we could see a large cave mouth above us! It was wide at the front and gradually narrowed toward the back. The floor was fairly flat and covered with sandy dirt, scattered about with boulders. In the extreme rear of the cave we could see a small black hole, but we didn’t go too close as we could smell an animal-like odor. We didn’t actually see anything larger than a squirrel, but we were keenly aware that calling for help was not really an option should some larger and more antagonistic critter come onto the scene. I called the directions, gave thanks and left a small (biodegradable) offering on one of the boulders near the cave mouth before we left and went back the way we had come.
I love this story because it is a small jewel-box example of how synchronicity and even the Hero’s Journey can unfold in our “normal” life, if we pay attention, have courage and follow the clues we are given.