On the Road

White Sands

“Solitude is fine

but you need someone

to tell that solitude is fine.”

Honoré de Balzac

After spending a few days in White Sands National Monument in New Mexico I needed to share this picture with you. What a fine place to experience solitude…

Or detonate the first atomic bomb, or drop training missiles…

The approaching storm certainly looked threatening, however no significant precipitation resulted from this warm front. It’s a desert in the end. 10 inches of rain may fall in a year. The mountains in the distance even receive a couple inches of snow.

The dunes of White Sands are mostly composed of gypsum, a white hydrous mineral, very different from other sand dunes of the West. The dunes are white as snow, and have a strange wet feel to it. The sand is deposited by wind from a nearby Lake Lucero.

The Park Service allows camping and hiking in this amazing playground.

Where did you find solitude?


8 thoughts on “White Sands

  1. I find solitude every day in the times that all is silent around my apartment – especially noticeable on a Sunday. Just the sound of birds chirping and caw-cawing, the occasional whisper of the wind in the tree tops outside, and very, very faintly the low drone or hum of a plane occasionally, almost like thunder as rolls across the sky. (This occurs because I live halfway up a steep hill and the sounds of traffic and urban living float over the top without having touched my ears, attuned as I am to the sounds of nature which dominates my sense.

    The hum of a plane can be so low you wonder if it was there at all.

    For a city dweller it’s a kind of feeling that few would notice. I am enfolded in Solitude’s cloak regularly, but not the solitude you would find in the wilderness.

    At this time of year, the constant tiny cheeps of young chicks in nearby nests reminds me I’m never really alone or lonely. I live in Solitude and yet I do not.

    Even standing at the local pond on a weekday is a sort of solitude in that no one walks that way at that time. There’s only ever-widening ripples as the occasional Duck or Teal steps off the bank onto the water surface and in ever increasing webbed feet strokes, darts in and out of reeds, tiny inlets and then slows to a halt and finds shade in the blistering heat of our afternoon Summer sun.

    Tiny flowers sway and dip down in a bow, then spring up a little higher as a bee, having soaked up the pollen, lifts off it tiny wings and flies in and around each nearby bloom, before landing once again and pausing in its daily flight pattern.

    The new Spring leaves on the Eucalyptus wobble and sway in a meditative dance and then suddenly stop when the wind drops, only to pick up their drooping green ‘feathers’ as the wind re-ignites. I watch the tiny, almost invisible midges slowly move up the large glass window in front of my desk and know that today is a slow and restful day for Mother Nature (having done her best over Spring to bring new life to Winter’s decay).

    If you only hear Sound, then how do you know Silence. If you only know Heat, how do you know what Cold means. If you only know dark, (like a person born blind), how do you know Light.

    The Joys of Solitude are impossible to understand without having experienced them.

    Everything in this life is Impermanent and ever-changing and yet, when you truly know Solitude, time seems to stand still.

  2. As always, I remain in awe of your ability to use the monochrome medium with such panache! I find wonderful solitude on my front porch ensconced in my wooden rocking chair often with a cup of hot coffee. From this vantage point I can relax and just watch Nature unfold in front of me. During the later fall, winter and early spring it is often so quiet here the silence seems to have a ‘presence’ all its own…

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