Yesterday, Daniel and I met up with his dad and a friend for an epic day of natural grandeur perusing.
Our first stop was Luray Caverns. Discovered in 1878, the caverns are both extensive and ornate. At one time, air from the caverns was pumped into a sanitorium for patients with respiratory conditions, keeping the house at a cool 70 degrees in the middle of the summer. It was one of the first air conditioned buildings in the country.
Although I enjoyed the dim, cavernous, immensity of the entire tour, my favorite stop was at Dream Lake. Standing water reflects the ceiling, making the relatively small and shallow “lake” look deep and mysterious. The more you look down into the lake, the deeper it seems.
Luray Caverns is peculiar in that it holds the world’s only Stalacpipe Organ, which also happens to be the largest instrument in the world. Leland W. Sprinkle created the instrument over the course of 36 years, connecting a sound system and rubber mallets to various stalactites. When a key is pressed, wiring sends a signal to a mallet, which taps gently on the side of a stalactite. The sound is amplified through a speaker system and funneled into the Cathedral, one of the largest underground rooms. I never in my life thought I would have the opportunity to literally hear the earth sing. (In my research for this post, however, I see that the earth actually produces a bird like song called the dawn chorus, which the human ear can pick up – how marvelous!)
It reminded me of Jesus’ words to the Pharisees:
“I tell you, if [my disciples] were silent, the stones would shout out” (Luke 19:40)
and of the Psalmist’s words:
Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command!
Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! (Psalm 148:7)
Luray Caverns was just the beginning of a beautiful day. Next stop, Woodstock, VA.