I am so grateful to have spent Monday and Tuesday of this week at Mammoth Cave National Park with my friend, Amy Bogard. One year ago, Amy had the privilege of spending a full month there as the artist-in-residence. In October 2010, she lived on-site, befriended the dedicated staff, and got a behind-the-scenes view of the park that few are fortunate enough to be given. She created a stunning, hand-stitched quilt inspired by her time there and I was lucky enough to get to tag along for its long-awaited delivery and presentation.
The true gift of these past two days was getting to see the park through Amy's "insider" eyes. She arranged for us to take the Violet City cave tour of 3 miles by lantern light. It totally rocked my socks off (pun intended) with its rich story soup of history, science, and myth. Above ground, she knew the best places to go and what should not be missed. Along the way, we were showered with falling leaves and warmed by the hospitality and good humor of those who love what they do and where they get to do it. We marveled at the animal medicine all around us. The wild turkeys were out-numbered only by the deer that were so tame we could stroll within about 10 feet of them (in the parking lot!) before they casually scampered off. The whole of it could not have been more enchanting had it all been orchestrated in advance of and throughout our visit.
Needless to say, I've returned home with my creative well brimming from this brief but bountiful time inside, around and above the Underworld. For this experience and all that it may inspire, I am so very grateful.