The dunes at White Sands, New Mexico are speckled with fall colored shrubs. Oranges, reds, and vibrant greens pop out against a snow-white backdrop. One expects to mount a dune and discover the light blue waters of an ocean. Instead one only finds more mounds of white encircled by craggy brown desert mountains.
The land is dry and the sun is hot. The reflected light off the dunes blinds our eyes and our feet pound against the cool sand. It is a good day.
We climb a dune and, after taking in the vast outstretch of white around us, plant ourselves firmly on a sled and race to the bottom of the dune. Warm air flowing by us. Hot sun on our faces. Cool sand under our fingertips.
If sledding in Oregon were like this, I would have cared to do it more often. But the sand dunes of New Mexico are nothing like the wet, slush snow of the Oregon winter. It is something out of a paradise dream.