What Is A Small Cave?

Updated February, 2003

What Is A Small Cave?

Let me explain

Oggy lay back on the sand, enjoying the shade from the tree on his brown, bare skin. He had traveled far from the clan, climbing up the rocks along the creek, higher and higher up the mountain until he was out of the jungle.

The clan leader had told him the time had come for him to leave, and leave he must. He had reached the magic "age" the clan kept speaking of but would not explain, and besides, he was different. He had no hair on his body. He must go, go somewhere else to find a "mate," another thing they explained he would understand in time. "Ah ah ug ou. nod. e og," he heard one elder say, roughly translated to mean "We'll have even more of those hairless bastards if he stays around here. But not with my daughter. Either he goes or I'll castrate him."

The shaggy red hair on his head had spread to his chin and crotch in recent moons. "Maybe I will grow a red pelt like my brothers," he had argued, but he was not sure. Then again, he was not sure he wanted a thick red pelt. His brothers sat around most of the time itching and scratching from the heat. At times he even saw mold growing on their pelts where they sweated. "Ugh," he had blurted in disgust.

A dark cloud appeared on the horizon. It crept closer and closer to the sun, until its edges reached out and dimmed the light from the sun. Oggy set up and looked in concern. It looked like another cold wind coming, but this time he was not protected in the jungle. He was high on the side of the mountain.

A sudden gust of wind swept down the slope from the cloud, filled with mist then rain. The big cloud covered the sun and then the sleet fell. It grew cold.

Oggy sat up when the wind hit and looked around. The trees around did not have thick foliage to stop the rain and sleet. It fell through directly upon his bare skin, and he quickly grew cold and started to shiver. Jumping up, he ran to the other side of the creek and up the bank, looking for a thick tree that would protect him, but he saw none.

Rounding the bend of the creek, he spied a dark opening, high on the side of the bank. He climbed up the rocks and looked inside. It appeared to be a place where a bear or tiger would hide, but he had grown so cold from the rain and sleet he did not care. The cave would provide shelter.

As he ducked into the opening, a brilliant streak of lightening showed a path around a rock in the back, behind which he could see a small glow. Creeping forward he looked around the rock and saw . . . the most beautiful creature he could imagine, a young girl huddled next to a small burning pile of sticks, and she had almost no hair on her body. Oggy forgot the cold.

The dictionary identifies a cave as "a natural underground chamber open to the surface." That indeed is what my ancestor found as the wind and sleet swept down off the glacier, whipping across his bare skin unprotected by the beautiful coat of hair his brutish peers sported as they traipsed around in the snow.

My more modern definition expands to include other chambers that serve the function of a cave, and it need not be natural. That means a modern cave can be built with all the ingenuity available to the human race. It is all a mindset. The key is to think of living chambers as a cave.

A usable cave must have a roof to keep the rain off your head. This eliminates vertical caves unless they have side chambers. The basic cave is constructed so it will block the wind and provide a means to keep warm (close bodies help at times). Modern caves come with running water, power, waste disposal, a view, climate, neighbors, and communications. At least that is the standard set in the United States.

For some people the way their cave looks on the outside is far more important than its functionality. That is because those people have neighbors that may become richer than they and those people wish to impress those neighbors that whatever is done, their cave is still better. A modern cave can be expensive if it has all the required amenities and looks good on the outside.

Size can also matter to some people. Bigger is usually more of a requirement of the male than the female, regardless of what the male thinks the female thinks. I think small has some advantages, at least in caves.

I arbitrarily say that Oggy found a small cave, using my criteria that a dwelling of 400 square feet or less qualifies as small. Anything bigger than 400 square feet is a medium or large-sized cave. The first home my wife and I moved into when we were married in 1957 was a quonset hut measuring 16 by 16 feet, only 256 square feet in size. It served its purpose, and at age nineteen, we thought we had the world by the tail. There was even room enough for a baby. We will talk more about size later.

Some small caves are small enough to have wheels. With wheels you can move your cave to some other place when the neighbors get nosy or bossy or just plain disgusting. We have a cave on wheels, a 34 foot long fifth wheel trailer. With its three slides extended our living space amounts to about 320 square feet. It is our dream home.

Return to The TOC or go to The Next Chapter