What a wonderful world...you know the song. So many have sung it, including one of my daughters when she was young, and it often brings tears to my eyes. My two favorite versions are those sung by Louis Armstrong and Jim Brickman. Actually it has been the ringtone on my phone for quite some time. It came to mind over and over in an experience I had this past weekend.
I have been in caves before, in the USA and in other countries, too, BUT what we experienced a couple of days ago was such a treat and a real eye-opener. The beauty of nature once again took my breath away from the moment I stepped into this subterranean world. What follows is just a bit of my ponderings as I allowed myself to be transported to another dimension in the caves of Frasassi, Italy…thinking that you may want to ponder, too.
We walked through some very long tunnels before getting inside that had 3 HUGE electronic doors that opened and closed almost mysteriously and quite solidly as we neared certain areas, in order, as we were told, to keep the temperature stable for the continuous growth process that was going on inside. This growing had been going on for more than 1 million years and is still going on!
When we were inside, our guide showed us some of the first few stalactites and told us that they were 12 meters long, though they looked to us as maybe just 2 meters and that this was because we didn’t have a point of reference for them. Our tour guide told us that they were shapes that we are not used to and were also farther away than we could tell they were, so that our reference point was off kilter. She said that one of them, that seemed quite close to me, was as tall as a 6 story building, but to me it looked about 8 feet tall. I looked and looked and just couldn’t imagine that they were the size that she said they were. And then I started to thinkabout what she had said about our point of reference, and to wonder about that. What IS my point of reference?…and is it small when it could be so much larger? And do I take all the opportunities in my day to check out my point of reference? Ooooh, I will be loving to ponder this for a while!
And, when being inside these HUGE and beautiful caves for some time it was like what I imagine it to look like under the oceans. After scuba diving for the first time many years ago, I realized that there was this whole other world in the ocean that I hadn’t even imagined, let alone seen. It was like I was exploring a whole other planet. And I had such a similar feeling here in these caves, this BEAUTIFUL world waiting for us to discover it! It was though I was Alice in the rabbit hole, or Christopher Columbus daring to imagine a round, instead of a flat, earth! With each turn there was something new to see and grapple with because it was brand new. I realize that this can happen so often if our eyes are open.
This morning, as I strolled in the gardens of the old monastery where we are staying, I was acutely aware of bright blades of grass of many different shades of green, of sweet lavender buds on gently curved stems that mingled with others, of the variety of gloriously-muted colors of grooved ancient brick and stone that made patterns that kept me mesmerized and SO grateful for this beauty…what a wonderful world!