We’ve introduced Dr. Les Brown of Fermanagh to you in previous posts. Perhaps you remember him and a discussion about caves and a porcupine (among other things) here or here? Or perhaps you remember hearing his voice on one of our Radio Dreaming Episodes here. While we were revisiting our DREAMING PLACE journey recently for a new (top secret) project that is underway, we came across this again and it struck a chord. What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.
Les Brown: Normally the cave is sitting there and its bone dry and when you get a flood pulse coming through it, it seems like it’s alive, because it’s become part of the active dynamic river systems that dominate the part of Fermanagh.
Anna: So you sound quite sure it’s not alive. Could you envision a world where it is alive, or a situation where you’d actually feel it was alive?
Les: Well it depends on what you mean by being alive, I suppose really. The vegetation and the plants around the entrance are definitely alive. The cave system itself it’s always changing. Over time it’ll always be changing so in that sense of the word, Yes it is alive, because it is changing with the environment. But is it a living thing? No it’s not. But it is always changing.
Anna: It has a cycle, it has a birth.
Les: It has an origin.
Anna: And it has a death.
Les: It has death like the un-roofed cave we saw this afternoon. That’s a cave that’s dying. It will not be there in a few thousand years. So there is definitely a life cycle to a cave. They form from water moving through their conduits and they get large and eventually they die, yeah.
Anna: Kind of like us.
Les: Everything is linked up!
Transcription of Interview with Speleo-geologist and Adventurer Dr. Les Brown, Back bar McKenzie’s, Boho, Fermanagh, Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, 2011.
Join us in discussion with Les Brown of Cave Rescue, for musings on precognitive drawing and the momentum of a project. Also not be be missed: discussion of a porcupine in a cave and nonlinear time. (Play audio file below.)
See our previous post and related images similar topics here.
The cave systems at Marble Arch Caves are infamous among potholers for their fickle ways. They can be dry one minute and very very wet the next; wet and of course highly dangerous.
Boho (pronounced Boh) caves were very very wet on the day we were invited to descend them. Even our guide, Les Brown, who is chair of the Irish Cave Rescue Organisation that operates from Marble Arch Caves Geopark, was astonished by the quantity of water roaring from its mouth. He was quite impressed.
From this photo I’m not sure if you can really appreciate that there is a whole river coming out of the rock, a whole river running right over what would normally be dry land. It can take as little as 10 minutes and up to 24 hours for rain to flood these caves. Conditions in these caves are dramatic!
You see, these limestone lands are literally full of holes and rain running off from mountains and out of bogs can literally pour back underground through numerous sink holes the moment it leaves the skies. Naturally the Marble Arch show caves are very closely monitored, water flows are measured around the clock and dangerous areas roped off. In “wild caves” where there is no monitoring equipment it is much more dangerous and caution and familiarity with the caves are key to safety.
Sadly because of the big river coming out of this Cave we didn’t get to explore Boho caves. Instead we contented ourselves with interviewing Les at the back bar (a carefully created cave-like room) of MacKenzies in the potholers bar.
A hydrogeologist and adventurer, Dr. Les Brown is chair of the Irish Cave Rescue Organisation and afficionado of potholing. In one of his stories he was buried alive in Ethiopia and in another came across porcupine quills in a cave. This is where drawing overlaps with dreaming. We drew a porcupine in a cave in our collaborative drawing the day before we met up with Les.
DREAMING PLACE is an experimental project by Anna Keleher (Devon) and Claire Coté (New Mexico), investigating dúlra – ecosystem; dúchas– heritage; aisling – dream. Based on an ancient Celtic tradition in which the land remembers everything, the project explores “dreams of place” and how lands speak through dreamers.
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A wonderful project, reconnecting to and listening to inner/outer Nature is crucial in this time of ecological and ethical crisis.
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I just listened to Radio Dreaming and I enjoyed it so much. It was really beautiful and soothing to listen to because I could sense how "in the moment" you guys were through your voices. I need more stuff like that in my life; Inspiring and interesting and a bit higher up on the cultural ladder that my usual forms of entertainment.
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