We were taken to visit Howe Caverns when I was a child in the early-to-mid 1950s.
The cavern was opened to the public in 1843.
I remember being amazed and enchanted by the beauty of the cavern. It was pristine and shiny.
I went again this week.
By now many millions of people have visited the caverns. The poor sad place feels worn out. Stalactites large and small have been broken off and stolen by the hundreds.
The nearby walls have been touched and smudged.
My memory is that there were large formations, similar to these few I found and photographed. These are smaller, near the ceiling, inaccessible to thoughtless and unimaginative tourists.
It broke my heart.
It was 52 degrees in there, as it always is, and that felt really good on a record-setting hot day!