Colorado, sand dunes and books

June 23, 2019

It was actually June 22nd that I was in Colorado. I woke up in Pagosa Springs and drove for another hour or so, to reach what is to me a sacred place: sand dunes. Recently I found myself stopping along the way while hiking, to take a moment and actually be grateful for what I am seeing, feeling, smelling, absorbing, rejecting… In Utah, for instance, I sat on a rock facing the arches. No one was around me because people are fundamentally lazy. I sometimes “hate” myself for staying just a short while wherever I am going, taking a too short walk, or hike, but some of us out there really take it to another level. What’s their main purpose while visiting a place? I am not sure, but very few of us humans were opting for walking down the Primitive Trail, which said “difficult” at the entrance, so I had only very few encounters with those of my species, which is something I am really happy about. I took advantage of being almost alone in the area, and sat. Listening to the only sound of the wind blowing through the rocks, reminded me of when I road tripped for the first time with Emily, in 2011. My first time in the Mojave Desert, in SoCal and my first time with real silence. A deafening silence, to use an oxymoron that expresses the unexpected sensation I had. Blessed.

The Great Sand Dunes were packed with people being profane in my sacred place. To reach the dunes you have to walk through a stream of water all around them. All these individuals with inflatables, umbrellas, tents, and more, treating the dunes as regular beach places where you just go to sun bathe and your children pee in the water, made my anger explode. I was expecting silence. I was foreseeing respect, experts of the land handling obnoxious humans: yes you’re allowed to visit, yes you can sand board, yes you can even take your pets and your kids, but you cannot leave Starbucks cups and dogs’ dejections everywhere. I started taking photos to document it. I had to. Spoiled rotten little kids whining, crying, screaming and I was done. Despite how hard it is to walk on the dunes, in the sand, while sinking deep, with the wind blowing sand grains in your eyes, ears, mouth, nose, everywhere, I started hiking up and down, seeing that the further I was going, the fewer people I could see. Just youngsters, in small groups, going all the way up to the high ones to sand board, and that was actually fine with me. I was smiling at them remembering my time in Huacachina, Peru, sand boarding with my BC peeps, riding those funny dune buggies like crazy. Fun times.

Going down memory lane allowed me to release some of the bother and I eventually reached the top, enjoying the view all around me. I sat and I contemplated the wonders of this place. To be honest, I also felt a little sorrow for not having anyone with me to say “See? How amazing” as I could hear many say while passing me by. Everyone had someone having their back, but me. They all had someone rooting for them, “come on, one more dune” or “one more, one more, see the rim? So close!” and I only had the voice in the back of my head with me, which we already know is not exactly what we would define as my best friend. But I endured and I stayed. After a while, being all covered with sand, I just decided to walk down and head North. I was thirsty and hungry, and still had a little annoyance lingering within me, thinking of having to cross path again with those irreverent individuals there, at the bottom. Luckily a friend of mine from Boston moved to Colorado, now living in Boulder, and I can’t wait to get there.

Maintenance Required light: ON. UGH! I have to do a quick pit-stop for an oil change. Colorado Springs seems to be the closest place where I can get it on a Saturday afternoon. Deal. The Pep Boys guys in LA have always treated me with courtesy, so I choose to go visit their colleagues in Colorado. They find a couple more issues on my SiennaMiller but, not having the financial possibilities nor the time to fix those, they kindly change the oil and replace an air filter for me, treating me once again as a valuable customer, and then they just write a note for future reference in case I decide to get everything working properly again. Great attitude is the key. I leave and go back on the road with a few more concerns, but glad I found some nice fellows in here as well as in LA.

The road to Boulder was… soaking wet. I had to go through two storms, a couple accidents and a whole lot of water, but once in Boulder the weather was merciful and I could greet Gabriel, my friend, after two years from the last time we hung out in Boston. Mah “wicked” Bawston. It was so nice to see a familiar face and do something with a friend. We went out right away, to a German place he likes, having the chance to catch up on the past two years of our stooopid crazy lives. The following morning we opt for a Tea House downtown where we have brunch, and then he shows me around. We visit two places he knows I would very much appreciate: a store where they sell old maps called Art Source International and Boulder Book Store. Loved both and bought a book: of course. If I could, I would get hundreds plus a couple old maps and an old, err vintage, wooden globe for my mother, but not now. One day. When my bank account will allow it. We eventually go for a short hike and fall into deep conversations about philosophy, biology, literature, languages, games, art… whatever. Sharing opinions and ideas, even when we disagree on some points, is something I cherish and respect. I could stay and wait for tomorrow, as it will be sunny and warm, but the road is calling. I am going to miss a Dungeons and Dragons night my friend wanted me to go to, but he understands and let me go on my way. I’m grateful for today so I leave content and laid-back. By late night I’m in Nebraska and I can rest for a few hours, thinking about my dogs back home, one in particular –who is old and in pain, and I weep a little, before Morpheus gets me…and tomorrow is another day on the road.

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