Tuesday, January 3, 2023

What Should I Write About Today?

I must have started down a half dozen different paths today without being able to settle on a theme to explore on our blog today. Eventually I decided to ask for help by phoning my friend, ChatGPT. Here's the question I asked and her/his reply.

Q. What should I write about today?

A. There are many things you could write about today. Some ideas might include:

  • A personal essay about a significant experience or event in your life
  • A review of a book, movie, or album you've recently enjoyed
  • An opinion piece about a current event or social issue that you feel passionate about
  • A descriptive piece about a place you've visited or a person you admire
  • A tutorial or how-to article about something you're knowledgeable about or enjoy doing

Ultimately, the best topic for you to write about is one that interests you and that you feel passionate about. Choose a subject that you have a strong connection to, and the writing will come more naturally to you.

The first topic that came to mind was Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. One reason is because of my Kentucky roots. My kin are from Eastern Kentucky and have been so since my great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather Daniel Boone led a community of settlers through the Cumberland Gap to settle in what was then "the west."

I have an interesting anecdote about one of my visits there in the mid-seventies. I will share it after you read about the place. (I asked ChatGPT to write this next part.)

Mammoth Cave is a vast underground labyrinth of caverns, tunnels, and passageways located in central Kentucky. It is the longest known cave system in the world, with more than 400 miles of explored and mapped passageways.

The cave is named for its large size, as many of its passages are tall enough to accommodate a mammoth. It has a rich history, with evidence of human use dating back to the early 19th century. In the early 1800s, a man named Stephen Bishop began exploring the cave and mapping its passageways. Bishop became known as the "patron saint of American cave exploration" and is credited with discovering many of the cave's most famous features, including the Frozen Niagara section, which features a series of stunning waterfalls.

Mammoth Cave is a natural wonder, with a variety of unique geological formations and ecosystems. It is home to many rare and endangered species, including the Kentucky cave shrimp, which is found nowhere else on earth. The cave is also home to a number of bat species, including the endangered Indiana bat.

In 1941, Mammoth Cave was designated a national park, making it one of the oldest national parks in the United States. Today, it is a popular tourist destination, with guided tours available to visitors. It is also an important scientific research site, with studies being conducted on everything from geology and hydrology to biology and paleontology.

Mammoth Cave is a truly incredible place, offering a glimpse into the underground world and a chance to explore one of the most fascinating natural wonders on earth.

* * * 

So here's the anecdote I wanted to share. Mammoth Cave offers visitors a range of tour opportunities, from one to six hours. The various tours take you to various parts of the cave network. On this particular occasion we took the tour that led to the very deepest part of the caves. As we descended down this winding path, through the Fat Man's Squeeze and past networks of stalactites and stalagmites, I kept thinking that the woman in front of me was familiar somehow. 

Keep in mind, we're in Kentucky and I was from New Jersey. 

As we reached the low point in this part of the cavern and the tour guide was announcing this fact, I immediately remembered where I met this woman. "Excuse me, but you look familiar," I said.

"I was thinking the same thing," said she.

Also, just so you can better visualize this, she was probably in her 60s and I was fresh out of college.  

"Are you from New Jersey?" 

"Why, yes. How did you guess?"

"I believe you had a table at the rummage sale in Martinsville."

Well, yes, that was where we met, though I can't recall if she sold me a brownie or was selling quilts. 

As my mother is fond of saying, "Isn't it funny the things we remember?"

EdNote: Illustrations created by DreamAI

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