Evelyn Judy Buehler

March 18, 1953 - Chicago
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A Light at the End of the Tunnel

"What a fine day for a picnic," my friends all said,
In the dog days of summer, with the hot sun overhead.

We would all go for a swim, and then have a fine lunch,
And would return refreshed and happier, we had a hunch.

So, we headed for the campground, in the nearby woods,
Like exotic birds singing merrily, within the dogwoods!

We had a glorious swim, and we were in such happy moods,
And were more than ready, to sample our delectable foods.

Until we suddenly saw a coyote, roaming near the trees,
Strolling the August sunshine, as casual as you please!

In terror, we slowly edged toward nearby Crystal Cavern.
On weekends they had tours, so it was lit by lanterns.

Once we were all inside, we ran like the four winds.
Upon distancing ourselves from the animal, we'd depend!

And creep out again, after a long interval had passed,
Then we'd partake of our marvelous picnic lunch, at last.

After running a long time, we decided we could rest,
Because racing on endlessly, puts stamina to the test.

Like the sun running tirelessly through the Milky Way,
As if chasing other stars, in a game of tag they play!

We enjoyed a sandwich apiece, and we drank a bit, too,
But we were growing eager, to again see skies of blue.

Like a sunflower daydreams, all through a steady rain,
And when it has ended, there is rapture on Nature Lane!

In great spirits, we finally began to make our way back,
But later, admitted we were lost. The world was black!

It was a Tuesday, and tours were only done on weekends;
But, Crystal Cave was over a hundred miles, end to end.

With many a twist and turn, to confuse and to befuddle,
And any but an expert, finds the tunnels are one big muddle.

We didn't realize we'd run so far-we'd been so scared;
And hadn't noted the way. At the time, we hadn't cared!

So, it seemed we were stuck, with no hope of rescue soon,
As a symphony must cease, when an instrument's out of tune.

We thought it would be wise to ration our food and drinks;
And what we wouldn't have given, to hear the bobolinks!

We walked and we wandered, through bored endless hours,
As a butterfly roves in ecstasy, by gorgeous noon flowers.

We luckily owned a watch, with a date window on its face;
And as it informed us, we'd spent two days in this place!

Our canned drinks were all gone, and the food was as well;
And what would become of us four, only time could tell.

We'd packed a blanket for sitting, upon the green grass,
We snuggled and invented stories, to make the time pass.

We slept rather fitfully, for caves are surprisingly cold;
And we rose when our watch told us, night had grown too old.

Like the hour of dawn, triggers a chorus of gay redbirds,
Or vanquished shadows signal the noon, without any words!

By our fourth day in the cave, we had begun to grow weak,
We were ravenous, and so thirsty we could hardly speak.

But, we were most worried about Paula-her condition was grave!
She'd become unconscious, and to her our blanket we gave.

Paula had joyous plans to be married, in a matter of weeks,
And to one day open a shop, that sells beautiful antiques.

Then we ourselves became lethargic, in this dim labyrinth,
And I was lost in peculiar visions, of lakes and hyacinth.

Most peculiar among them, was that I saw distant lights,
Like an escapee from the country, seeing the city sights.

The lights appeared to brighten, in my semiconscious state;
And then I heard voices, but lost consciousness, of late.

I woke up in the hospital, to my great happiness and relief.
If we'd been in that cave any longer, we'd have come to grief.

Our families reported us missing, when we failed to return,
And a few of our fallen items, lay at the mouth of the cavern.

From these clues, it was presumed that we had gotten lost,
So, the search was launched to find us, whatever the cost!

The family reunions were joyful. There were hugs and tears;
And my dear friends and I have grown closer over the years.

Like the tide throughout the day, inching closer to the shore,
Or the golden smiles of sunshine, that draw satellites galore.

We cried at Paula's wedding-it was so beautiful and perfect.
For years we revisited, cherished memories of that subject!

And our faith was strengthened, and would forever replace doubt,
For there's light at the end of the tunnel, even in a blackout!
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