Writing Exercise/Inspiration: Look Closely

Just for fun, I thought I’d suggest a writing exercise this week. The above photo, for your inspiration, was taken at Luray Caverns in Virginia.

The caverns are filled with limestone stalactites and stalagmites, from tiny to mammoth. Many of the stalactites are ‘wet’, as in continually dripping and growing. Look very closely at the photo above — what you’re seeing is not a roof of stalactites and floor of stalagmites. In several locations in the caverns, the water dripping down from the stalactites forms a pool so still that it creates a perfect mirror image of the ceiling — Nature’s trompe l’oeil in a small cavern about five feet high.

Play around with how you’d describe such a scene, either as a real place in your thriller novel, or an alien landscape (maybe an entire tiny civilization living in it, or perhaps fifty times the size with a gigantic race of monsters), or as a Jules Verne-style adventure.

This is the largest group of caverns in the eastern United States, and I highly recommend a visit. One of the great things about Luray is how walkable it is, along paved pathways. When hubby and I visited there was a staircase going down into the caverns, but they’ve just added a stair-free entrance for wheelchairs. Because of some of the slopes/grades in the path they’re not able to list the caverns as handicapped-accessible, but they are quite friendly for people with some walking challenges, like arthritis (as compared to Mammoth Caves in Kentucky, which is very rugged; there’s a small section of the original tunnels that has been made accessible, and is still really cool to visit, but the best parts aren’t).

I hope you enjoy letting your imagination run wild with this challenge, and I’d love to see the results!

As always, all photos are by me unless otherwise specified, and all rights are reserved. E. Jurus

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