Tuesday, May 20, 2008

El Guapo

Sorry to fall off the Friday poetry train last week. I had a good excuse:

That's our sandcastle in the foreground, my kids off to the left of it. Those ethereal shapes in the distance are the Great Sand Dunes, and that very wide, very shallow expanse of water is Medano Creek. One of our favorite places ever. We go there every year. We even got married there. Walked out into the sand with a few friends (the illustrious Dancehall presided over the ceremony) and did the deed. I hear about folks who spent $20,000 on their weddings and laugh. Ours set us back a half a tank of gas.

This is a half-frozen waterfall - Zapata Falls. Neither the picture nor my words can do it justice. The waterfall itself is deep in the cleft of granite - the white thing that dominates the picture is a huge overhang of ice, forever in shadow and thus slow to melt. The noise from the falls was deafening. As I took this picture I had a kid balanced on top of my shoulders, and my feet were in ice-cold water (literally; it's run-off from the ice). The mist from the falls hung over us like...well, like mist. I can't come up with an adequate simile. I tried.

Magical place.

At night I told the kids stories about El Guapo, the giant lizard that hides in the dunes, and is responsible for the winds that blow across the rippled sand. Some may call this lying; I prefer to think of it as mythology. No doubt the girls will be telling their therapists all about it in 20 years or so, and coming to their own conclusions.

Came home to witness the Mets complete a two game sweep against those hated Yankees bastards. At Yankee Stadium, no less.

Life is good.


Jo said...

Wow, what a lovely, magical place! It almost seems like those sand dunes are from another photo--they look so surreal behind little girls building castles. It's a charming photo, captures childhood perfectly.

Eric Shonkwiler said...

Add that to my list of places to visit. The dunes look amazing.

Victoria Gothic said...

I've got to admit, that place looks amazing. At first, it looked like Namabia, because, their desert backs up to the Atlantic Ocean, you know? South West Africa? Anyways, that looks like lots of fun. But, yeah, I decided it wasn't Namabia because I said to myself, "OK, so there are the kiddies, and they're not European, so its not Namabia." Perhaps that logic doesn't work for everyone else, but thats how I draw my conclusions.

meno said...

I can almost feel the cold mist on my face. Wow!

Gordo said...

It's an amazing place, to be sure. I was lucky enough to visit there in 1985. It was summer and bloody hot on the sand, but my brother and I had a ball. I don't remember the falls, though.

So many places that I want to take my kids ... :-(

Mona Buonanotte said...

I'm jealous...so jealous...dunes and creeks and ice waterfalls? Dude...you are one lucky guy! Where is this?

Rudi said...

Kids: cute
Sand Dunes: way cool
Sand Castle: very nice, but ...

Sand Castle that is not threatened by the ocean's tide: What's the deal?

That's just a foreign concept to a kid that grew up making saltwater moats around his castles. I gotta try me some of that fresh water moatage someday.

Nancy Dancehall said...

It is a magical place. I love the dunes at night in the moonlight, when they look like giant blue clouds.

Hilary said...

Beautiful shots. I love the kidlets playing in the sand and the doons far behind them. Just lovely.

Clowncar said...

Yeah, Jo, those dunes look like they are Photoshopped in, eh? I love how they fade into the glare of the sun. Very surreal.

Eric, the first destination on your lisy should be the Canyonlands(Utah). Second should be the Sand Dunes.

Vic, I enjoy the snakey, unorthodox flow of your logic. I know nothing about Namabia, but it sounds lie a beutiful place.

Meno, it was such an odd sensation - 75 degrees outside, and you're standing in ice water, cold mist falling on your face, brushed by air that never sees the sun.

Gordo, thanks for stopping by! The trick to the dunes is to go in the spring, when it's still kinda cool, and the creek is running. The creek is key!

Mona, you should be jealous. It's too cool. It's in SW Colorado, in the mystical San Luis Valley.

Rudi, the water wanders all over the sand, so a part that was covered in water can be exposed a hour later. It's continually changing. Like a tide that can come from any direction, at any time.

Ah, Nancy, the Dunes at night. It's when El Guapo comes out to play. And perhaps a few fallen angels too (insert smiley emoticon here).

Hil, thanks for stopping by with your trined photographer's eye. I like how that pic doesn't look quite real - the dunes so unexpected and incongruous in the background

Daisy said...