Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
by Antonio Prokup
Through Fear Came Satisfaction
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By Antonio Prokup
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May 11, 2013 12:01 a.m.

I have a fear of so many things and places I could write volumes, but the one place I remember as
fearful and yet amazing was the Mark Twain Cave. I was in fourth grade when our field trip that year
was to the Mark Twain Cave in Hannibal, Missouri. I'm sure my mom had to believe I would never enter
the cave. But, off we went with the class for the day. I'm sure she thought if all I did was picnicked with
the class, then the trip was successful. However, in true fashion when the others got up to go through
the cave, my mom told me we were going to try. I remember being so nervous and afraid. And sure
enough when I saw the entrance to the cave I backed away and bolted in the opposite direction. My
mom did not want to force me, but fortunately Beth Ashenfelter's mom, Genia, decided to make an effort
and coaxed me not only to the mouth of the cave but over the threshold and into the amazing interior. I
will forever be grateful to Genia for caring.
Once inside the cave, the feeling of closeness was overpowering but I didn't want to leave. Even
though I felt so cramped and claustrophobic I was so very much intrigued with the sites within the cave.
As I walked past the walls of the cave I could feel the cool and almost slimy feeling as I brushed by. The
air was chilly and yet refreshing at the same time. The colors from the lights shining on the stalagmites
and stalactites looked like icicles of rainbow colors shimmering in the darkness. The little stream that
meandered through the cave moved along calmly and was hypnotizing to watch. If I had my choice, I
would have sat by the water all day. But, unfortunately tours move fast, sometimes too fast, to enjoy
every aspect. As we walked along the curvy path we stopped to take pictures and I think I was even in
a few. My mom and I were at the end of the line so not to impede someone else's pace. After what
seemed like a very long time, the cave's walls appeared to be moving closer to me. I knew it was time
for me to exit, but each time I looked up all I saw was another bend in the curve.
I was trying to enjoy all the sights, but ached to see a glimmer of sunlight. I walked faster and
refused to stop for photos anymore. I could tell my mom was worried how long I could take the pressure.
And then I saw it. As we rounded what was the last bend, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel! My
heart jumped and I ran outside - back to my comfort zone and back to familiarity. To this day, I don't
know how I was able to walk through the mouth of that cave, but through the fear I experienced another

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