Spring in southern Colorado... The trees are in exuberant bloom. I can still imagine the smell of the lilacs in Walsenberg. With each storm, new things seem to sprout from the ground almost overnight. Every budding tree and awakening rabbit bush reminds me of home. Every creek blurs into one vision of my favorite childhood waterway and I am transported into a wave of pleasant memory.
We reach the Sand Dunes, nestled below bluish, still snowy peaks. Each piece of the landscape is a reminder of adventures I had in the dunes when I was less than ten years old. As soon as I can, I rush to the water below the dunes, throwing off my shoes. My senses still remember the feel of the soft, white sand beneath my bare toes. I balance myself against the currents that pour down the waterway, reminiscent of ocean waves. I don't remember the chill of the water but I remember hours spent playing in this waterway atop soft, squishy mud and sand. Even now it is magical.
I remember the softness of the dunes and the warmth of the sand beneath my feet. It still feels the way I remember it. The sand tumbles away with each step I take up the dunes, making it a challenge to walk. At the top of the dune, I pause because I am afraid to jump off, hurtling into space. I'm afraid I'll get hurt but I watch my friends and their kids leap. Then I shrug aside my fear and take a running leap. I fly through the air and let out a yell of exhilaration and fear as I seem to fall. And then I land in the soft sand of the dunes and I begin to giggle. Again and again I run at the peak of the dune and then leap. When I land, I lie in the sand laughing. I am proud of myself for losing my fear, taking a risk and enjoying the returns. It is a good day.
Night falls, chill and windy. Rain ends the evening early and I crawl into my tent. At night, the wind keeps me awake. Early in the morning, I am exhausted but at last I rest. I awaken to wind and rain outside the tent. I am a little disappointed but I make my way out into the morning. It is cold, windy and gray. The dunes look beautiful in the morning light but I am reluctant to wade the river in the cold. By late morning, we go anyway. It is a long, windy, uphill push but it's still fun because I'm with friends. At last, we crest the final dune, our desired destination. We find a hollow just beyond the crest and there we make a little nest to sit in while we lunch. The sun covers the dunes and the wind dies down. I lie on the warm dune and slowly shrug out of my layers of clothing. I watch my firends fly kites and ride sleds down the dunes. This is living!
The afternoon is lovely. We make our way down. I read a novel and then take a nap in the warm tent which is luckily, not too hot.
The evening is gorgeous. We gather for dinner around the campfire. We share some drinks, smoke some sheeesha (tobacco) and listen to one of our friends tell us stories. Everyone agrees that this was an amazing day.
I sleep soundly and wake to find that it is Sunday but I am still relaxed. Now we are home again but the dunes are still with me.