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Some caves Both lock and open wards contain patients with the full range of and degrees of illness. But the lock wards are notable for the apathy of the patients and the general dreadfulness of the atmosphere. The open wards, however, are cheerful bustling places, full of patients doing things instead of lying on the floor sucking their thumbs. It’s difficult to tell patients from staff members on the open wards. In one corner of Sedberry’s ward operates a program called Interphase, a joint MH-MR and State Hospital project. Interphase is actually just one aspect of MH-IVIR’s outpatient services for people with mental and emotional problems. It operates in the afternoons and evenings for the convenience of working folks. It’s a chummy, open place that serves Some of the people who come there come not so much because they need help as because they just like it. “This is like my home,” explained Fred, a jolly former State Hospital patient. “My friends are here:” “You would not believe,” hospital staffers said over and over, “how many people become mental patients simply because they have 110 one they can talk to.” While the state hospital provides in-patient care for mental cases and the MH-MR clinic provides outpatient care and the Probation Department leads a lot of horses to water by court order, something called the Human Development Center, another MH-MR production, tries to put it all together. Psychiatric therapy, drug counselling, family counselling, vocational programs. They’ve got detoxification units, a Methadone maintenance program, they’ll take mental cases and retarded cases and adults and children. They’ll try group therapy and transactional analysis and confrontation and psychodrama and you name it. They work with the State Hospital, the Employment Commission, the Probation Department, A.A., and have one problem. They can’t help people unless they can get hold of them. Some of the people with the kinds of problems the center can help are afraid to come in or, for other reasons, just won’t. But most people just don’t even know the place exists. People like John Beauchamp. M.I. Someday Someday I’d like to take a trip To each of the Four Winds Where so many friends have gone JOHN ROHDE Irving 14 The Texas Observer By Steve Herrigan Once a friend of mine spent the night alone in a cave. It was a small cave with only two rooms and the people who were with him, as drunk and stoned as he was, took him seriously when he said lie wanted to be alone in the dark. But after they left with the flashlight he started to panic; in the perfect, stable darkness he couldn’t find his way out. He says that for about 15 minutes he screamed as loud as he could, and then, all reasonable and drunk, he lay down in the mud and went to sleep. Nothing like that happens in this article. The billboards, checking our progress every half-mile and growing denser as we approach our goal, are there to guide us. The souvenirs are there to give us pleasure. These conditions are accepted. If you want your caves pure, you’ll have to join a spelunking club or find your own cave to finger your way about in. You may not even want to read about unchaste, commercial caves. Fine. But if, just as some people need their fun laced with the possibility of death, your appreciation of beauty is incomplete without the subtle, corrosive threat of dreck, if your soul is stirred by triumph over the tacky, you may want to read on. Because within an easy day’s drive from Austin there are at least half-a-dozen commercial caves, varying widely in purity and interest and loveliness, but all of them honest-to-god underground, below and, even at their most unfortunate, a little beyond the surface. Lemon meringue w/Bacon Inner Space Caverns were discovered in 1963, when a hole they were drilling for the construction of a highway expanded 41 feet below the surface into a virginal limbo of space no one had suspected was there. Jack Bigham, a highway worker, was the first man to see it, lowered down on a rope through a hole with only a flashlight to see with. Access is now a little easier. Since there was no natural opening, they made one close to Interstate 35 a mile or so before Georgetown. The ticket office is futurist/exotic in design, rather small, a punctuation mark in a long sentence of billboards. We’re taken down to the cave in a sort of miner’s cart, a vehicle that suggests more roller-coaster type thrills than it modestly delivers. There is a point in the brief descent when the guide tells us that the temperatUre is going to drop, or rather that we’re going to drop into it, and the change in climate comes with the sharp exactitude of a plunge into cold water. The climate changes in other ways: walking onto the cave floor seems an escape from a natural bondage. Leaving the miner’s cart is a little like leaving a submarine to find I can breathe on my own. A strangeness, in which the casual, surface-dwelling voice of the guide has a ridiculously strident appeal to normalcy, like old men playing checkers in the nude. The path is wide and even and well-lit from light fixtures concealed behind fake rock formations. The first room is long and narrow as the belly of a whale. The others grow out from it, little negative continents in an ocean of rock. Dutifully we avoid touching the formations and erasing hundreds of years of growth with the unholy sweat from our hands. The water, having hollowed out a record of where it once ran, now solidifies itself from its own residue, forming columns and ends of columns that will touch in some other era; thin, delicate bone-white curtains, shrouds of balleen and harps with fused strings. A fairy castle that Cocteau might have noticed hangs suspended over a gorge. But someone else has already noticed. A sign is there before us: Overhanging Castle. Where there is no sign it is pointed out for us by the guide: King Arthur’s Towers, Pig Pen Room, Sam the Sheep Dog, Fireman’s Hat, Ice Cream Cone, Bacon Strip. “Think of a big, luscious, lemon meringue pie,” and, surely, when the lights go on before us what is there to see in that smooth, peaked ceiling but meringue? Cheated out of an easy metaphor. On a wall of cement, a caveman-style mural of animals whose bones were found in the cave. A glyptodon, “as big as a Volkswagen,” an eohippus, mastodon, a puny sabre-toothed tiger. Below, in a glass case, the bones. The tour comes to a stop at the Lake of the Moon, a shallow, pleasant-enough pond receeding back into an inaccessible part of the cave. We’re asked to take a seat while the lights go out and are resurrected slowly in pastels above the surface of the water. Haunting music, like the kind in educational films about the universe. A voice, female: There was a time when I was not, but that was long ago .. . I am the Lake of the Moon, and I wait, not with the Light, not with the Sun, for I . . . \(here my notes, running over each other in the dark, are Nor will I ever know. But I know that I Wait, know that I Wonder, know that I live! A man from Dallas put that together, after paying his dues at the world’s fair. All right, fine. Nice show. Great finale,