Wednesday, August 02, 2006

okay, here's my first experience on the dunes, to the best of my memory. i'm not going to put a detailed account of what all happened and in what order; i want this to be more of a telling of how it felt.

the first time i went out on the dunes, i rode behind my best friend, megan. sitting on the three-wheeler at our campsite, her dad gave us a quick rundown of what we were supposed to do. "stay with us until we get out to the dunes. don't go too fast on turns. if you get stuck, call me for help." i figured that megan had heard it all before, but she listened carefully anyway. maybe it was just part of the ATV experience. so her uncle started up the engine of each rig, and we rode through the camp towards the dunes. every person we passed nodded or waved at us. it seemed to me that they all had the same feeling that we did, because, after all we were all there for the same reason. the feeling that everything here is so simple, so easy. you're here for one reason, to ride. those simple gestures of friendliness probably made the most difference in getting me relaxed and ready for the dunes.
when we arrived at the dunes themselves, the first thing i noticed about it was how...ready it was. it was ready for us. ready for us to zoom around on it. ready for me to get used to riding, and ready to get the others in their groove. on a hill of sand, you could ride up to the top and glimpse the ocean, or you could ride down to the bottom and feel the shade of the trees. i knew that God had made this place. the mere arrangement of it all proved, to me at least, that He wanted us to have a good time. so we rode on the hill for a while. then megan's dad told us that we were all going up to the top. he said that it would be easier riding up there. as megan gained speed up the hill, i panicked. my breath came in short gasps. my brain wasn't working. i was extremely tense. she rode faster, faster up the hill. at the top, there was a barrier of trees, with small, single file roads between them. we went in and we were swallowed into the narrow pathways between the trees. it seemed as though we would be riding through these trees forever. turn left, turn right, we were still in it. it went on forever. but it didn't go on forever. we rode through the trees, making turns often, ducking low branches, and then-
Bam.
we were out on a flat plane, as far as i could see. soft sand rolling on and on. the whole world seemed to be an open savannah, ready for us to play on. and i got this feeling, like...everything's cool. each thought that passed through my mind seemed infinitely okay. wherever i was in life, geographically, emotionally, or in time, it was the perfect place. i didn't want anything to be any different. not with my family life, my age, or anything. everything seemed alright.
i got to drive on the dunes myself, too. i don't know, but there's something about tearing up a huge area of sand that gives you the feeling of unlimited power.
and the beach...now there's a rush. the water licking at your tires, but never quite reaching it...the smooth, wet sand, just waiting for you to break the speed limit and get your heart pounding. and the sun, slowly fading into a pink and orange explosion as it vanished below the horizon. i could almost feel the ocean and the clouds watching me, to see if i fit into this world of revving engines and rushing speed. i think i passed their watchful test.
i think that it was a different person in me that returned from the dunes that night. it was a person who was satisfied. a person who knew more about the good life than she did only a few hours before.
the next time i went out, do you think that i felt the same exhileration? you bet i did. but did i get that same feeling of absolute cool? no, not really. i don't think that i'll ever get that again. but i'll never forget how it felt to be there, not just there physically, but to be THERE. do you get what i'm saying? maybe not. maybe i shouldn't have even said all this. but i wanted it written down somewhere, and so i guess that here is okay.

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