In the cold and dark days of winter, do you ever feel like you're living in a cave? When cold weather really starts and it's just no fun to be outside, no matter what the activity, I start to feel a bit oppressed.
There's not much sunlight, the days are short and I spend a lot of time doing work in my office. There can be days on end in which I find myself working from morning until evening, with only short breaks for breakfast, lunch and dinner before the evening comes and with it darkness. I feel like I'm living in a cave on those days.
I can imagine that early man who actually lived in a cave must have been a short tempered fellow who was pretty gloomy most of the time. It must have been pretty nasty in there, no flush toilets, or exhaust fans and when he went out there were all kinds of things out there trying to eat him.
Then there was the matter of the short days of winter. What did he know? When the sun started to disappear earlier and earlier each day, how did he know that it was ever coming back? How did he know when the air became freezing that it wasn't climate change and that it would never get warm again? After all there were no meteorologists to make predictions, even if they are wrong 50% or so of the time.
Living in a cave could not have been much fun but it did offer some advantages over being in the open covered with some kind of homemade fur blanket. At least there was some shelter from some of what nature threw at him.
I sometimes watch one of the “reality” shows where people live pretty much in the open, except for what they can fashion with their own hands and the materials that are available, limbs, sticks, rocks and leaves mostly. When serious rains come down, they usually get pretty wet and miserable, sometimes for hours on end. I guess a cave would be welcomed at times like those but what was lurking in those caves anyway?
Who was that first man who said, “Hey, there's a big hole in the ground over there. I think I'll go and see what's in it?” Did he ever return or was he just lunch for some tiger? Did he have a torch with him or did he even know about fire then? A little light and some heat might make a cave a little more inviting but it would also make it very smoky and stifling, especially if you had your family and friends in there with you.
I'm sure the early families were what we'd call today, extended families. There would be granddad and grandmother, maybe a bachelor uncle or aunt, mom and dad, at least one infant and of course a couple of teenagers, all in one cave. Granddad had probably lost a lot of interest in hygiene as had the older uncles and aunts. Mom and dad may not have been too clean either and we all know about infants. Can you imagine the grief that all of them got from the teenagers?
I think most of us think of early man looking like Fred or Barney and generally being pretty happy fellows with wives, kids and a pet dinosaur. Probably not.
Now that I really think about it, my cave doesn't seem so bad.