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Today I drove my children to the Sand Dunes, a huge wonder at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. The dunes are sensual, both impermanent and ancient, vast; light plays and dances off their waves and crests, often making the sweeps of sand look like the curves of a nude woman’s hips. It is no wonder photographers and acid trippers and hikers are obsessed with the place.

It is also a lovely spot in which to become extremely muddy and roll around like a wild creature, which is what my two older children did all afternoon, just before a beautifully dramatic storm blew in from the West. We are using our visit to the dunes as our first ¨outdoor¨ homeschooling project: each child chooses an animal native to the area to study, draw, and write about.

The baby did not much like the dunes. I think she felt nothing but their winds and their size, and the fact that her mother was preoccupied in ways uncomfortable to her: busy taking photos, watching her older siblings ¨dig for gold,¨ and feeling stunned by the beauty of the light, I left her to play in the sand. She did not play. Or smile. It was too much.

She reflected, to me, how enormous, how overwhelming the world can feel, and the vulnerability that sense inherently creates in the body, in the eyes, in the mind.

She was a very small child sitting under a very large mountain.
2015-04-22 20.41.00And isn’t that how we all feel all too often?