We have all heard the word and we each may have our own comfort level with closed in spaces. I for one have been known to hike up as many as nine flights of stairs to avoid the elevator. Elevators are an amazing modern invention; when working properly. I can think of a half dozen people who all have had their day detoured to wait for one of those cars to be fixed. With my aversion to being closed in to small spaces and even more so to be underground, when I had the opportunity to visit the Catacombs of Paris I took Le Plunge.
I and my partner walked along with others willing to descend to forty feet below street level to see what the average tourist would not see from the Avenue Des Champs Elysees. It was a blustery day with frequent showers and I for one was looking forward to getting out of the weather. Hmm, the deep places of the world have their own environment and the atmosphere was as rich there as it was up on the street.
My grandparents lived in a home that was built just after the conclusion of the American Revolution. The two floors that were their primary living space was cozy and inviting and I still miss my grandmother’s African violets that lined nearly every window. The kitchen contained a large old fashioned cast iron stove that would come into service any time the power went out. Their home was a magical place with plenty of fresh baked bread and a fish pond in the back yard too. But every wonderland has something scary too; Alice in Wonderland had the Jabberwocky and my grandparents had a seriously medieval cellar. It was filled with anything and everything anyone might have had a use for in the past two hundred years. There were cobwebs and spiders and the holes in the wood floors were large enough accommodate serpents as well.
Did I go downstairs often? You bet I did. My grandfather was a carpenter and he had his workshop in the cellar as well. As afraid as I was of meeting a serpent curled up in the corner I still wanted the freedom to make things from the bits of lumber leftover at construction sites. I learned a lot of skills at my grandfather’s workbench; it is okay to be afraid and even intimidated to do the unknown but don’t let your fear put you in a box.