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Looking up at the 10,000 year old stalactite hanging above my head, I realized that it is not quite as massive and menacing as I remember it being.
As a senior chaperone for the first grade cave field trip on Mar. 28, I was struck with memories from my own experience 11 years ago. Every spring, the entire first grade class travels to the Inner Space Caverns in Georgetown, Texas (a suburb of Austin) after completing an extensive study of caves as well as a project in which the girls build their own caves in shadow boxes.
Eleven years ago, the caverns were bigger than a house, the bats were bloodthirsty and as big as baseballs and the stalagmites looked like trees growing out of the ground. Now, I had to duck to fit in the cavern, the bats were the size of my thumb and the stalagmites came up to my knees.
But while my illusion of enormity had been shattered, the first graders around me were amazed in the same way I was when I was their age.
Senior chaperone Abby had a similar experience. “I remember everything in that cave being so huge, but now it seems so tiny,” she said.
The day was filled with flashbacks.
On the way to the caves, we watched Mary Poppins while we snacked on animal crackers and sipped from juice boxes. Once we arrived at Inner Space Caverns, we played on the playground and put together a game of “Ring Around the Rosy.”
For Abby, the best part of the trip was returning to the first grade mindset. “It was such a nice break from reality; we got to skip around and play games. It was a fun return to childhood.”
But for me, the best part of the whole day was seeing the first graders become enchanted by the caves in the same way I did when I was young. The cave trip exists as my most vivid and captivating memory of Lower School, and, hopefully, the first graders we chaperoned last week will remember it just as fondly.
To plan your visit to the Inner Space Caverns visit: http://www.myinnerspacecavern.com