Last week I was in New Zealand. I loved the tour of the Hobbit village--all those colorful round doors! But I can't stop thinking about a tour of Waitomo Caves.
For one thing, they are beautiful caverns. Pink stalactites and stalagmites in graceful swirls in every glance. I kept thinking that it was real. Real. It took millions of years to form. But we could see something like this that Disney had made. It could look exactly the same. But this was real. This was created by the beautiful processes at work in nature, not fabricated by man.
The breathtaking aspect of these caves, though, were the glow worms. Glow worms--yes, like the nursery song--are real! They don't exist in very many places. Lots of caves in New Zealand and Australia, a few in the British Isles, one place each in the US (Alabama), India, Pakistan, and Morocco. Rare!
All glow worms are insects, but they are not all the same. The reason for the glow and the part of the body that makes the glow differs among the different kinds of worms. The ones we saw use the lights to attract bugs to eat. It seems kind of gross, in some ways. And when they showed us the webs that string among the worms, that seemed a little creepy. But when the guide took us in a boat, in a slow river, in the dark, without lights, the view was amazing. Magical. Like something I have never seen before. A night sky filled with millions of stars, so close they feel like they hang in your hair. Something beautiful and odd and wonderful and secret. Lovely.