Throughout the Galapagos Island Archipelago, there are volcanic tunnels that have solidified into subterranean pathways. Peaceful and cool, they host a darkness that many people would fear. A lack of light that can only be really experienced underground, the hollow and craggy pathway lit only by our headlamps feels like the beginning to a horror movie. But like anything, if you enter a place with fear it will present you with something to be afraid of. We are quiet, not because we have to be, but because something about the tunnel feels holy. As if it is a cathedral to the secrets of the inner workings of the earth. It is surprisingly peaceful. The darkness and the sound of our footsteps echoing. We decide to turn out the lights and sit in silence. I decide to lay on the ground. In the darkness I feel more connected to the earth than I ever had. For a profound 5 minutes, I feel inexplicable peace. We then turn the lights on, but no one speaks for a few moments. As we explore the caves more, talking about volcanism and geology, there is a deep sense of content. As if our heartbeats have aligned to the movements of the earth’s core. I knew then, I would never feel scared of being underground again.
SIT Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation