We’re wandering through the desert at 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Our water is hidden behind a dune a short distance away. Even if we wanted to cross over to the dune with the hot sun beating down, all of our stuff is coated with sand. You might be wondering what happened to us to end up in this situation that sounds like some Hollywood movie plot. It might surprise you, but we did this to ourselves, willingly. In fact, my friends and I drove hours to reach these extensive sand dunes. As dreadful as it might sound from the description, it was some of the most fun I’ve had in quite a while.
As we were parking, we were told to move the car in case more military vehicles came in today. Upon further inquiry, we found out that the vehicles were all parked at the top of the hill in order to film the newest Jumanji movie. Dune buggies whirred as they climbed the dunes and raced after one another across the expansive desert plains. After filling our waters and applying some sunscreen, we hiked across the road to another set of dunes. The wind patterns traced lines over everything. Immediately we found shade to leave our stuff and began to explore.
Like young children, we climbed the dunes and ran all the way down. We laid and made sand angels. We wandered off and pretended the dunes were another planet. Even though the road was right below us, it felt like another world. Nobody occupied these particular dunes but us. The wind started to pick up and there was no cover from the sand flying at our bodies. We could have left but we were there to view to sunset and we were not about to miss it. As the time started to arrive, we climbed to the top of the dunes and sat in silence, our bodies quietly fighting off the consistent sandstorm.
As a golden glow began to hit the sand and a fire started in the sky, we watch and took photos, our bodies no longer worried about the projectile sand. There’s a certain sense of freedom in watching a sunset unfold from the top of a sand dune in the middle of the desert. There’s a feeling of wild. There’s a feeling of unrestrained. No one judges out in the dunes. People only come to enjoy what they have to offer.
After leaving the desert, we were all exhausted but content. It felt nice to get out and do something new, especially something that provided such beauty and peace of mind. Do I still have sand in my hair and behind my ears? Yes, I do. Is my water bottle permanently scraped from sand getting in it? You bet. Was it all still worth the hours of driving and intense heat? I wouldn’t have passed up the experience for just about anything. Nature has a way of settling the mind. Usually my nature is a beach or forest, though switching it up this time was refreshing (and dehydrating at the same time!).
When experiencing something new, there’s an opportunity to watch yourself adjust. We quickly learned the best location and position to stand in to avoid being blinded by the swirling ocean of sand. When out in nature, sometimes it can do us all well to just sit and absorb the world as it happens around us because we may not do enough of slowing down in our day to day, fast-paced lives. This adventure was a reminder of that. And it also brought to mind a quote I think is useful from Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”