Some things defy description. For instance, local folklore has it that the Cave Without a Name outside of Boerne received its name in 1939, when the owner of the property held a naming contest, and the winning entry was from a young boy who suggested it remain a “Cave Without a Name” because it was “too beautiful to have a name.”
I think I know how that boy felt. Even though Saturday, June 21, marked the 16th year in a row that Celebration Circle celebrated the Summer Solstice with an Underground Sounds concert in that particular cave, I still find myself at a loss for how to describe that experience.
It’s not just that it’s a highly unusual, richly-textured, multi-layered concert, performed on a wide range of instruments, with each vocalist and musician specifically chosen for their distinct timbre. Nor is it just the crystal-clear reverberations and acoustic properties of the 40-foot domed, limestone ceiling, or the physical beauty of the Queen’s Throne Room, with its awe-inspiring stalagmites and stalactites accentuated by creative lighting.
Nor is it the comfortable, yet highly dramatic descent each participant experiences, traveling down 126 stairs beforehand, literally climbing into the womb of Mother Earth, 90 feet under the surface. Nor is it feeling the weight of the cool, moist, air changing with each step down, while hearing the hypnotic sounds of water drip-drip-dripping as it seeps through the ancient limestone walls, continuing the age-old process of creating these eye-popping rock formations, one drop at a time.
Nor is it the startling, pitch-black darkness that immediately envelopes the chamber for 15 to 20 minutes when all the lights are turned off halfway through the concert – much less the mesmerizing sound of the didgeridoo reverberating through the dark, accompanied by the resonant sounds of Tibetan bowls and the throbbing drums.
Nor is it the open-ended invitation to harness the collective group energy, as well as the creative pulse of the Summer Solstice vibrations, to help set specific goals and intentions for the future.
However, put all those factors together, and the result is a deliciously nuanced interplay of all of the factors above, creating an experience that is – well, frankly – beyond naming or labeling, but well worth encountering.
I guess I’ll just have to leave it at that, and invite you to come share this amazing experience with us. Then you can come up with your own description, if you can.The next special event we will be presenting in the Cave Without a Name is “Music from the HeART of Darkness” on Saturday, July 26. Much of this concert will be performed in total darkness, providing a uniquely focused listening environment, with two shows at 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
Featured/top photo: An audience watches performances during the Summer Solstice at the Cave Without a Name on June 21. Photo by Kevin Lewis.