If you have been following along, I was in a mood for the last 48 hours. Partly charged by bad attitudes and lack of appreciation for all the effort T and I put in to make a day right and partly because the world kind of sucks right now.
Yesterday was uneventful and frustrating on so many levels. I actually want to appreciate our country’s history so I was proud we opted to take our kids to Mesa Verde National Park. Upon arrival, it appeared we rented the park out all to ourselves.
Our crew approached it with the enthusiasm of a turtle crossing the road…slow, unaware, disinterested, and possibly willing to die for no real reason. The one hour drive to the first site, Far Views, was a series of turns and hills that hung on the edge of the valley. The boys played the Xbox throughout the drive. At the visitor’s center, it didn’t help that I paid little attention to the informational brochures and bought them in Deutsch, French and American. At least the place we planned to hit was in English.
It seems the world (and my family) is less interested in the past than I had expected. We arrived at Far View and we didn’t know what we were looking for. It turns out our rig was too big for the driveway to explore Far View so we trekked another 5 miles down the road and parked in an empty parking lot.
The only walkable site with no ticket required, Spruce Tree Lodge, was closed for viewing. Out tiny window into the Pueblo people was less than exhilarating and sadly didn’t inspire anyone in my family to learn more. Our only walk about ended in two of my kids being yelled out from across the valley “to get back on the trails!” This is all Wilson will remember from this brief moment. Not that hundreds of years ago a resourceful people worked hard to build their dwellings and lived a hard, meaningful life creating tools from bone and rock and made spectacular pottery that stood the test of time. She will remember a park ranger yelling across a valley that she broke the rules when the signs marking the pathway weren’t very clear in the first place.
We made it out of Mesa Verde likely never to return as a family. I’m not proud of this, it’s just the facts of how the trip happened for us. It felt like a long ride to our next destination. Going to the Great Sand Dunes National Park is a bucket list spot for Wilson, and we rallied to find a path home to make it happen.
I told my family I was ready to hit the reset button. I was done feeling irritated and I knew we all needed a shift. At check in, I discovered the spot we were staying in had a grill on site. I ordered dinner for the whole family. Fried comfort. No cooking. No cleaning. Food comas for all.
Reset can mean all sorts of things. Like a hard drive sometimes needs a full shutdown and reboot, we do too. It’s important to reset priorities, attitudes, ideas, and goals when the wirings of our thoughts are overloaded. We have to find what that reset looks like for us and do it.
We raced out the next morning with our sand boards and a skip in our step as we walked across the hot sand. We created the first steps of the day across the dune we claimed. A new mindset to try something new. A reset.
We found out sand boarding was a whole lot harder than we expected. We stopped and started. We fell a lot. We expended more energy and effort than we had in a while. We loved every minute of it. We celebrated the little victories of sliding partly down and the big victories of Wilson conquering the stand up board. Tommy helped Parker learn about getting back up, one step at a time.
We had a blast. We were in a place we have never been. It was worth finding sand in every crevice. It was just the day we needed to reset our time together, especially knowing we have the long drive home.
On the day centered around freedom, we felt it here. Nothing has felt more patriotic than hitting 6 National Parks in two weeks. It’s a beautiful country we live in and it’s a beautiful freedom to be able to explore it.