this is our new cave!”
“I like the kitchen,” said Mama Grunt.
“I can’t wait to start decorating,” said Aunt Grunt.
“I always say a change of scenery keeps you from
getting old,” said Granny Grunt.
from: Little Grunt and the Big Egg
written and illustrated by Tomie Depaola
Holiday House, 1990
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you already know how I feel about Halloween. But just in case, here’s the bottom line: I don’t like getting scared and I project that onto kids, especially little kids. But that’s just me.
But in recognition of this “scary time of year” I’ll let you know that my husband and I finally went to Mammoth Cave (see Celebrating the Wilderness 10/25/16, if you want) after passing this gorgeous natural phenomenon for years on trips back and forth from Florida vacations. It was *not* scary!
About the scariest thing about the caves was the tour guide telling us we might see bats. We did not, but I wish we had.
What we *did* see more than made up for that little disappointment. A ten-minute tram ride away from the visitor's center, and we were at the entrance. The walk through the cave was short, three quarters of a mile, including 280 stairs, some up, some down and a few hairpin turns..
Of course, the floor was rock. The walls of course were also rock and so was the ceiling. Although we were deep underground, the park had installed rope lighting all along our route. The color was surprising. All was muted, but greens, blues, reds, showed through the dimly lit tans and grays.
We squeezed through narrow pathways and suddenly, around yet another corner, surprise! We found ourselves in a room large enough to hold at least 50 people, seated in rows of benches. Our guide explained underground life, like eyeless fish. They don’t need eyes in their lightless and low energy environment. And little brown bats that eat up to 600 mosquitoes in an hour.
Then another slightly slippery skid toward the exit where we found stalactites hanging from a ceiling almost too high to see and stalagmites growing up to meet them. A hidden beauty only found underground.
Back on the surface, I emerged changed. Even on a tour of 50 people, I felt absolute quiet. I experienced an incomparable solitude, and a great appreciation for sunlight.
Mammoth Cave was formed in Mississippian-age limestone rock. The cave is 379 feet (118 m) deep, and contains at least five levels of passages. Mammoth Cave is not called “mammoth” because of our 3/4 mile hike. It includes over 400 linear miles of explored trails.,
Caves are only scary if we’re afraid of what we can’t see. Dark is only scary until we are brave enough to explore why.
I’m reading Before We Were Yours
by Lisa Wingate
tragic and riveting