This is Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system in the world, right here in the middle of Kentucky. I bring up Mammoth Cave during our Free Range Free Chat because on 9/11, it was announced that Mammoth Cave was longer than previously thought and may be longer still.
The world’s longest known cave system just set a new record after surveyors spent hours mapping an additional 8 miles (13 kilometers) of the passageways at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky.
The corridors at Mammoth Cave now measure a whopping 420 miles (676 km) in length, according to the National Park Service (NPS). That’s about the distance between New York City and Raleigh, North Carolina.
Welcome to Free Range Free Chat, our wide ranging all over the map free chat with a special focus on all things environmental, from the land to the sea to space, from bugs to birds to other animals creepy and non-creepy, crawly and jumpy 😉 and of course, humans. (Have I left anything about our world out?)
And why, you may ask, for this free chat, do I start by bringing up a cave, a tourist attraction, a hole in the ground attached to a National Park with a gift shop, cheesy souvenirs by the barrel?
Because when we look around these days, we have within us a feeling of certainty, that things are going to get worse before they get better if they DO get better
We see a memorial for Covid victims and we’re not surprised at the numbers, we knew. We hear about a missing girl whose boyfriend returns from a trip without her and without a reason, and we shake our heads because at some level we knew, we just knew. We hear stories about the Taliban, how they’ll treat women now, but we know; just as we know what will happen to Roe v. Wade, just as we know what will happen in the 2022 elections, just as we know how SCOTUS will vote. Down deep, we just know about the bad news coming, whether or not we hope for something different.. . . .
Except, we don’t know, really. Mammoth Cave is longer than it’s always been. At least six extinct species of animals are not extinct, as of August of this year. Biden jumped in and saved ANWR from being drilled. My 93 year old dad does not have COVID against all odds and the 2021 extension of the dreaded 2020 is almost over. Surprise, surprise.
Today we look to nature, from Mammoth Cave to the sink hole in the back yard, because we need the reminder that no matter what we think we know, we can still be surprised. What we know we may not know, and what we expect may be turned upside down at any random moment. Mammoth Cave is bigger than we thought. I wonder what other surprises are out there? Today we look to nature for answers. What’s going on in your neck of the woods?