A few years back, my dad lived on this farm in Missouri. I grew up in the city and thought it was absolutely spectacular to visit and “work” on the farm for a few weeks a year. Throughout my childhood I would dream of living on a farm, having unlimited access to all kinds of animals and just living in the country. I think that I’ve mentioned that I have family in Iowa (if not, you now know), and about half of them live on farms. We’d go for a visit but never, really, got to experience the day-to-day grind of farm life, meaning my Dad’s farm was all new to me.
It took 15 minutes down a dusty, dirt road to find his really long driveway. Once you arrived at the top of the drive, the farm was speckled with all kinds of buildings and corrals and sheds. Each day was a new adventure, we fed the chickens, gave the goats their annual shots, road the horse, fed the dogs, checked in on the chicks, and so on. Farm life. We got dirty every day and I loved each and every second.
In addition to all the crazy buildings and having a river that was 1/4 mile away there was also a cave on the property (freaking cool!)… and my dad had the key. The state had it gated off for preservation reasons.
On one particular day, I was out in Missouri visiting with a friend. The three of us (my dad, the friend and I) drove down the little, rocky dirt driveway and parked the mini-van.
Yes, my dad drove a mini-van, and if you asked him today what car he would want, if he could have any https://meganstecker.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=952&action=editcar in the world? He would tell you a mini-van. That’s my dad.
We hauled ourselves out into the humidity and hiked up the hill to said cave. The friend and I slithered and crawled back to the gate where we worked to unlock it — a trickier endeavor than originally planned. Probably a broken lock. The friend then turns to tell me that it is unlocked, to express the joy at having defeated the dilapidated gate. As he’s speaking I start to notice that his gaze has shifted from looking directly at me to looking slightly above me. He says in the calmest voice he can muster, “Megan, don’t look up” … so… what do I do? What would any normal person do? I looked up. There were thousands, maybe millions of AMAZON-sized crickets covering the ceiling of the cave, only a few inches from the top of my head. This, my friends, is at the top of my list titled “Things I Fear”. Saying I was terrified doesn’t even begin to cut it. I screamed an endless, blood curdling, someone stabbed me in the chest scream and got out of that cave faster that I thought was humanly possible.
I didn’t stop at the cave entrance – too close. I RAN down the hill and locked myself in the mini-van and cried. It was hot, I almost died and I was chased down the hill by a swarm of angry, biting horse flies (ouch!). The bugs were out to get me that day. My dad and the friend made their way back to the car, but only after shooting a poisonous snake hanging from one of the tree branches I screeched past on my way down. I wish I could tell you what kind of snake it was but I was so focused on not being eaten alive by insects that I didn’t catch it’s name. You’re surprised. I know.
Sometimes I think about that day and how honestly scared I was. Rationally I know that the crickets weren’t going to all jump on me, crawl through my nose and eat me alive in that cave. I know it. Sort of. Even now, just the thought of them, squirming all over the ceiling is enough to evoke goose bumps on my arms and a lump in my throat. I am 100% terrified of bugs.
About six months later I went back and crawled the cave with a group of burly men. Examined bats. Counted spiders (from a VERY safe distance) and survived. Albeit a bit shredded and muddy. It was crazy both times and I can’t say that I’m keen on getting back into a cave. I can, however say that I’m so glad for the experience. For having gotten dirty and for going back when I didn’t think I could.
You have any good stories? Bugs? Going back?