Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Family Fieldtrip and Finding Inspiration

The kids had an excruciatingly late Spring Break from school this year, but once we actually got some time off we embarked on several long put off excursions. Luray Caverns in the Beautiful Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia has been a destination on our list since we moved to Virginia almost 6 years ago. We had some beautiful Spring weather,packed some snacks and took off. It was well worth the two hour drive thru the Dogwood and Red Bud blossomed countryside. So much of Virginia is still forested and wild and so very lovely. It was wonderful to get out and away from the RT 95 corridor to see the natural beauty of our state.
Luray is a massive limestone cave system that has been named one of the most beautiful environments of it's type in the world, by the National Geographic Society. I found it an amazing source of artistic inspiration and incredible beauty . To think that all of these formations were created by slowly dripping water over millions of years, simply astounds the mind. (Have to wonder what the creationists have to say about these wonderful places- denial of existence probably!!)

One of my favorite formations are the Drapperies that hang from the ceiling of the caves and ripple and fold as if created from curtain fabric. This particular formation was back lit and is nicknamed the "Bacon Drape"- this IS Virgina after all, the home of Bacon!!! The folds of the Rock- yes this is rock, remember, were amazingly thin and delicate and hundreds of thousands of years old and still in the process of creation! The desire to reach out of touch the soft flowing folds was strong but not allowed. One easily forgot that what we were looking at was stone.

This cluster of stalagmites reminded me of a Seussian confection collection, resembling ice cream cones or stupendous cupcakes!
I thought this one appeared to be towers of broccoli stems standing one atop another. (Hmmm... seems to be a food theme running here, I must have been hungry!!!)
Here you can get a real sense of the folds in the Drapperies of stone!
I know that I drove Tom and Becca a bit nuts with all of my picture taking but I did manage to get them to stop and slow down a bit to grab a shot of the two of them. I hung back in many spots to take pictures and to try to really SEE what was there.
We all spent quite a bit of time at this spot, marveling at the quiet and stillness. This is called the Lake,although it is only 6 inches deep. It is a totally quiet reflection of stalactites hanging from the ceiling and offers a spectacular illusion of great depth . There is nto aripple nor a movement to disturb the illusion or break the spell- it is truly magical.

In the middle of this pool was a small stalagmite growing thru the surface and I see two figures here, sitting on a rock looking into the water or fishing. on the left I see the elder or larger figure with his left arm encircling the shoulders of the younger to the right. The larger figure holds the fishing pole. (Am I so hungry by this point that I am hallucinating- No , because I can still see it !!)
After about 1.5 hours I was reluctantly drug out of the cave and off to find some lunch. We all left with a renewed awe at the power of a drop of water and the beauty that lies beneath the earth.
As I write this post, the news headlines are full of the news of the power of water drops as they collect to roll down the Big Muddy Mississippi and the aftermath of the devastation wrought by the collection of droplets that became the tsunami in Japan.
The forces of nature and the power, both miniscule, painstakingly slow and overwhelmingly devastating, continue to fill me with awe and inspiration.


Trina said...

That "mirror lake" is my absolute favorite part of the caverns ... I couldn't believe it when I saw it!

Marilyn Rock said...

These photos are awesome! I see so many things in them, too. My heart goes out to the people in Mississippi with the flooding and now it's moving down the Delta!

Plays with Needles said...

I went there while I was in college and I can't remember a dag on thing! Your post made me want to return now that I'm a grown up (am I?) -- I agree with Trina...that mirror lake was absolutely something and I liked hearing about the draperies too.

And boy your son is TALL!!! How tall is he?

Elizabeth Seaver said...

What a beautifully written piece, Elizabeth. It is an amazing place. And so cool. Thanks for reminding us all of one of the wonders of Virginia.

Dosfishes at Sparkle Days Studios said...

Wow, great pics, those caves are amazing and I love to tour them unless there are itty bitty openings to crawls through. You photo of the draping folds is spectacular. xox Corrine

Createology said...

What great photos of the amazing places you experienced. Happy memories...


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