Monday, July 6, 2015

Spelunking Down South


After our busy day yesterday walking around towns and cemeteries, we decided to explore a little further out. While there was another cemetery and another drive down some gravel roads, it was a relatively light agenda. With a loose schedule in our minds, we got on the highway and drove further south down to Roanoke. Actually, we drove past the city and pulled into the parking lot for Dixie Caverns. That’s right, no matter where we are, there is always a cave to be explored.

With the sky looking more temperamental than usual, it was the perfect day to walk through a cave in order to stay cool and dry. While we were thrown off a bit by the cats wandering around the property (which complicates things due to my wife’s severe allergy) they kept their distance from our small tour group allowing us to walking up an into the weathered entrance. As soon as we walked through the threshold, we knew this was going to be a lot of climbing… more than any other cave we have ventured into… as the stairs and moss covered lights lined the carved path.


While most people see all caves as basically the same thing and wonder why people explore different ones wherever they go (my father is one of those people), having been through a number of different caverns I have noticed the slight differences in the landscape. In this particular instance, the ceiling…


…and the walls…


…were a little more interesting than the other caves that my wife and I have toured over the last few years. This is especially true when the tunnel began to open up…


…our eyes adjusted, and some of the interesting formations were pointed out to us like the wedding bell…


…the sharp teeth of the T-Rex…


…and, later on in the tour, the large turkey wing.


However, what I really find impressive in each space that we explore are the places where people aren’t looking.


I usually find myself turning around and looking the opposite way sometimes falling behind the group just to find a different perspective, a different cavernous veranda. That is when I am met with images like the one at the beginning of this post and this one looking down at where we were once walking.


It is all about perspective in these spaces regarding both the environment immediate surrounding you and the lens through which you view it. Just as all landscapes above ground consist of the same elements, none of them are exactly alike. Each landscape is different… some more than others… and sometimes there are little surprises when you adjust your eyes to take it all in like seeing the sky in the stillness of a lake or, as was the case today, seeing the colors, shapes, and patterns of the cave reflected in a pond. These are the images that make us want to explore underground just as we explore above ground.