Everything was completely black, void of light. The murmur of voices somewhere back behind me suddenly became silent. I am always filled with awe when I walk down the trail into the depths of Carlsbad Caverns. Try as I might, I have never been able to successfully capture its unique beauty in a painting. It is amazing that something so awesome has existed deep within the earth, waiting for years in the still dark silence for a glimmer of light.
At the deepest part of the walk, I always pause to let the tourists pass by and continue on up the trail. When at last the lights are turned off, I can be alone with the still black darkness breathing around me. There is such a feeling of enormous peace.
“Does the Devil live down here?” A little girl’s voice floated up from the dark interrupting my thoughts. The shadowy figure of a child stood beside me. “Does He? Does he live right here?”
Dodging the question, I asked her where her parents were. “Somewhere, I guess. Tell me about the Devil. Is He here?”
How do you answer that question from a small, unknown child? “Well,” I said slowly, casting about for the right answer. “He doesn’t live down here, no, definitely not. It’s too pure and peaceful for bad things.”
“Ok,” she answered cheerfully. “Bye!”
She turned and walked on up the trail, hopefully to find her parents. The darkness swallowed up her small form. When the lights came back on, there was no sign of her.