Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lions and Horses and Rhinos--Oh My! by Emily Whitman

Talk about an Outside the Lines experience! A movie about a cave, for heaven's sake--and the theater is packed, every single seat filled with people wearing those square, black-framed 3-D glasses.

Unreal! And yet jarringly, absolutely real.

You are in that dark, stalactite-dripping, mineral-encrusted cave, and the beams of your lantern illuminate walls teaming with wildlife. You feel you could reach out and touch the sensitively shaded horse heads. The galloping bison. The male and female cave lions, nose to nose, nuzzling. They're so alive and fresh and immediate--

And they're 30,000 years old! (May I age so well...)

Chauvet cave, closed for millenia by a landslide and recently rediscovered, is open to researchers only a limited number of days a year. But when you see this movie, that locked door opens and you walk through, balance along the narrow raised pathways, and feel your heart in your throat as you realize the curved indentation in the rock before you is actually the belly of a bison.

Someone in the film notes that perhaps we were misnamed. Instead of being called homo sapiens, man of of knowledge, we should be known as homo spiritualis. Of the spirit.

The artists who painted these walls: their spirits touched mine across a 30,000 year divide. And that's what writing is about, too. Touching spirits, connecting with something that is true for both of us. That dark cave, waiting to be opened and communicate spirit to spirit: that's us, and books are part of the light.


1 comment:

  1. Oh. Wow. They're seriously that old? I wish I could draw like that on paper, nevermind on a cave wall.

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