Depths OF Dawn
By Jake Brouwer
Our hand held lights flickered against the cool walls of the tunnel as we traversed the first fifteen feet of Dawn Mine in a crouched position. With the low stony roof and watery floor one is constantly forced to be aware of their position. We proceeded with a slow and shambling pace into the damp darkness towards what appeared to be an island. Two ancient square beams grew from the mound of soil that made the island and though these beams stopped around waist level, I imagine they at one time provided some means of support in the tunneling process.
The tunnel roof opened up above us, a shaft climbing to the height of over fifty feet, and going, who knew where. It was a wormhole of sorts to another world in these underground possessions. On the right of our position another tunnel veered off in a northerly direction. In the entry to this branch the floor again appeared to be water logged and though not plainly perceptible at first, it had the look of peril in the greatest degree. With lamp in hand I maneuvered two steps closer towards this watery entrance. My lamp finally reached its mark, fully engulfing the water filled manhole that lay before me. The site of this watery grave jerked my feet to such an abrupt halt, that I almost went head over heels into this great abyss.
My fearless friends foreseeing my potential predicament grabbed onto my jacket and jerked me back a step. A gesture I was most beholden for as we peered on bent knees into the drenched depths of what was later found to be fifty-five feet deep. My friends and I backed up onto the safety of the island and then pressed onward into another tunnel that led off to the west. This tunnel proceeded in for a distance of one hundred fifty feet or so, with numerous side passages of lesser extent to explore.
Deep in the folds of this subterranean domain when the wet walls bluntly came to an end, my friends and I pondered the fate of those with no lamp to light there way and so extinguished all sources of our luminance. In the black nothingness around us the only sounds we were to hear were the echoes of water droplets hitting the occasional puddle on the tunnel floor and the sporadic clearing of ones throat when one feels the insecurities of this black netherworld.
Lamps again lit we headed back to the island and one last look into the murky depths of the water filled shaft. Looking out towards the tunnel entrance, a glad and yellow sunshine was striving to gain admittance and so we raced across the waterlogged planks that lined the floor to give it a full and proper greeting. Once fully in its presence, we stretched and strutted in its warmth, til we had our fill and then sat in the shade of the giant oaks to snack and reflect upon our visit to the depths of Dawn Mine.
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Last modified: February 12, 1999
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