The change of seasons always triggers some kind of excitement, but the transition from winter to spring brings a special kind of magic. Winter scenery gains lively colors, brisk air mingles with sweet scents, and somnolent space becomes vibrant with children’s excitement and chirping of birds. Everything wakes and starts to move at a slow pace as if giving us enough time to look back at winter until we finally say goodbye to it.
As usual, Lipa cave spent this winter hanging out with water and giving shelter to the small residents of the surrounding woods. We paid regular visits to make sure there were no problems and to enjoy the unique scenery the cave offers during wintertime. We found foxes and dormice on the run, lost and confused lizards, and we often came across the smallest cave dwellers we seldom meet during the season. We also witnessed the deafening sound of water wildly rushing toward cave chambers as if it was finally free to party. But every winter there comes a moment when wind crashes and rearranges the setting by freezing the dancing water.
Wind can occur in many caves, but it is considered a phenomenon because it can be felt only in certain places, to be more precise, on entrances and inside tight passages. Whether there will be wind or not, atmospheric pressure outside will decide. As long as atmospheric pressure outside is in balance with the pressure within the cave, there will be no air circulation in these places, but when the pressure outside changes, the air within the caves will start circulating to restore the balance. During summer, when atmospheric pressure outside is lower, the air from within circulates toward the exit. Atmospheric pressure in winter is higher outside the caves, so air circulation is directed toward them. Once the air gets close to tight passages, air circulation speeds up and that is how the wind occurs. This phenomenon is known as “cave breathing”.
In wintertime, when the air temperature outside is significantly lower than the temperature in the cave which varies between 8 and 12oC throughout the year, a very cold wind enters our cave freezing every drop of water it comes across. Since in Lipa cave strong wind forms at the very entrance and in the passage between the chambers of Njegoš and the City, the waterfalls nearby get frozen, and numerous stalactites and stalagmites disguise themselves as icicles.
This year the wind in Lipa cave organized a party right before the arrival of spring. Enjoying yet another example of the wild beauty of Montenegro, we felt as if we were saying goodbye to winter from the most beautiful place in Cetinje. Hoping that we succeeded in depicting a part of the atmosphere winter brings to our cave, we are looking forward to spring and a new beginning.