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Imagination at Its Finest

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It had been a beautiful day, the sun was shining bright, and its rays illuminated the steep hills before us. The red hues gave the impression that the large pines were a blaze. Our ’98 Dodge Caravan lurched along the through-way. There was a constant rattle that shook everything in the van. The clattering of my brother’s bottle in the cup holder rang in my eight-year-old ears as I tried to sleep, which was almost impossible because of all the racket. My parents bickering in the front over some random occurrence that happened earlier that day, my brother wining and squeaking as if he was a chew toy. I hardly heard any of it though, my mind was racing with all of the great things I was about to see, we were on our way to Howe’s Caverns.
I tried desperately to fall asleep. My mother told me that if I did the time it took to get there would seem like nothing. I was never good at sleeping on car rides, my stomach would lurch and it almost always upset me. I tried desperately to sleep as every little bump we hit raised my head just enough to slam it back again the window. The vibration of the tires against the pavement was anything but soothing as we rolled over a road bump. I could feel it all the way in my teeth. It was a soft jitter almost as if I had a chill that extended up to my mouth. Like when you’re outside on an old winter’s night you can be bundled head to foot in wool and fleece and somehow your teeth still manage to chatter.
We had been on the road for hours and I didn’t manage to get a wink of sleep. But then we came across a steep hill draped in the greenest grass I had ever seen. Carved into the grass, on a grand hillside, were enormous letters that I was sure were at least twice the size of me. Each letter was composed of thousands of tiny sand colored pebbles. The excitement inside of me was building with every new sight to take in. A large brown house sat at the top of the hill, by itself, I had no idea what could possibly fit in there. I was told we were going to see caves the size of mountains and rivers as cold as ice, I didn’t see any of it.
Inside of the little house was a gift shop that sold random nick knacks and cheap souvenirs. My parents bought a pink hoodie the said Howe Caverns on it with a little black bat in the corner. A restaurant was attached to the far left side and there was a mining area where you could sift through sand to find your own precious metals. All of this was nice but I still didn’t see how I would see this amazing new world.
Our tour group ended up waiting in line, I felt like and animal being herded into a corral. We all crammed into this elevator that was way too small to fit all of us. Everybody was shoulder to shoulder for me it was shoulder to butt. It was very uncomfortable, especially when the elevator made a jolt and we began to descend at a steady pace, I was horrified. Through a tiny window in the front of the elevator all you could see were layers and layers of rock. As we continued our descent I noticed a change in the temperature. It began to drop at an alarming rate. Suddenly I was shivering. It felt like winter under the ground and the air was very moist.
The elevator doors opened and we were greeted by an even colder gust of air, it took my breath away. It was dark and eerie, the type of feeling you get when you’re caught alone by yourself in a dark alleyway. I wanted to turn around and get back on the elevator but it had already left us. Our tour guide led us around the corner. The tunnel we were traveling through was dark and cold just like when I got off the elevator. I touched the wall; it felt slimy like damp moss and there was a slight trickle of water dripping from the walls.
The passage way began to open up and made way for a vast opening. It took my eyes a minute to take everything in. It was huge space I couldn’t even believe my eyes. I felt like a princess walking into her grand ballroom. Rock formations hung from the ceiling like glass chandeliers, illuminated by the water on its surface. The rock walls shown as if they were plated with gold. More formations extended out of the ground like a giant bee hive, they were ribbed and taller than me.
The underground palace also came equipped with a stream that ran swiftly beneath our feet. In the stream you could see movement, and not just from the flowing water, there was actually life down there. Living breathing animals could survive in water that was practically freezing. I couldn’t understand how so much could live in a place that was so harsh, but some how the animals had adapted and now called that place home.


It was marvelous, bigger than I could have ever imagined or hoped for. The tunnels stretched on for miles, in spots the walkway got so small some of the men had to duck to get through but in others you could hardly see the top. This was the world my parents had told me about, this was what I was waiting for, and it opened my eyes so much. I would have never known there was a world beneath our world. And it was all hiding just below our feet, just waiting to be explored and we had only touched the surface. There really was more out there, and now that I knew, I wasn’t going to let anything stop me from exploring it all. I wanted to travel and reach the ends of the earth, who knows what else is out there and I was going to find it.





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