A cave’s lifeline consists of cracks in its ceiling. Which, when you look at them, make you think about how cracks in ceilings are signs that ceilings are about to fall down upon you. Which is never a happy thought while you’re in a cave! Lifeline, then, seems like an ironic name for cracks in a cave’s ceiling. Still, our tour through the New Hope Cave in the Cherney Maribel County Park didn’t cause me any anxiety about an imminent cave-in. I wonder if larger caves creep me out more, because it feels more impossible that such enormous rooms could exist underground. Surely the vast expanse of the ceilings in those caves can’t hold up forever. Like the mine under the city of Negaunee, Michigan, which is settling or collapsing under one neighborhood. An iron-mining Chernobyl. Or maybe my fears are intensified in direct proportion to a cave’s depth. Wind Cave in Wyoming, which requires an elevator to reach its deepest floor, was a little nerve-racking. Claustrophobia, I think, makes me more anxious than anything; narrow rock corridors remind me how little it would take to bury me prematurely.