Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog

Accentuating Tlingit Traditions

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The Great Sand Dunes, Colorado

April 4th, 2014 by Clarissa

TheGreat Sand Dunes between Crestone and Alamosa, Colorado is 30 square miles at the base of 14,000+ peaks

I will learn to take weekends off on a regular basis from creative endeavoring work.  Weekends are a luxury for the self-employed and it’s about time I incorporate this type of luxury, (though in the next two months I have a major deadline to complete the Chilkat robe I am weaving), so I am postponing regular weekends until AFTER I deliver the robe!

Having at least one day off from work helps rejuvenate and revitalize our bodies, mind and spirit.  We need this type of “food” to nourish and support us.  It helps keep our creative juices flowing!

I appreciate a great travel partner who instigates simple great adventures and is attracted to the same subtle and not-so-subtle images, energies and beauty in nature.  Of the many places Dan and I have traveled to and through in Western North America over the past 5 years, from the American Southwestern states up through Montana, Alberta, Yukon and Southeast Alaska, the early evening day trip to the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado last weekend captured my entire being.  I felt as though I were walking on holy ground, sacred ground…vulnerable yet spiritually and physically powerful.  I am happy I followed Dan’s lead to this place of mysticism and sacredness.

Patterns made by the wind

These are the highest sand dunes in North America up to 750 feet covering 30 square miles at the base of the Colorado Rockies between Crestone and Alamosa.  We arrived in mid-afternoon when the sun was lowering on the horizon for better contrast of light and dark.  I complained like a kid “…are we there yet!?” because the straight highway drive was absolutely boring, especially after driving through phenomenal scenery driving down from the Leadville area the day before!!

The Great Sand Dunes National Monument Park has excellent signs guiding visitors to respect the environment with do’s and don’ts

I yearn to return to the Sand Dunes.  I imagine just to sit and be there.  In peace.    Alas, I have other commitments and major deadlines one right after the other; I have a Chilkat robe that I have to finish weaving by June 1st, then I have to deliver it, then I have 6 classes to teach in Yukon and Alaska and I do not return back to Colorado until mid-Summer when the Sand Dunes Park will be cluttered with too many people!!! — So alas, we must wait until AFTER Labor Day weekend because we will avoid the crowds.

Dark and light waves has been imprinted in my heart and mind inspiring me to want to paint, draw, charcoal images of nothing but sand dune language!

Dan soaks up the sunset, the silence and stillness

I know Dan and I must return to this place.  Not just for an afternoon but for at least an entire week.  Camp out.  Hike. Bike.  Play flute.  Play a hand drum.  Do Tai Chi.  Take photos.  Paint.  Draw.  Sit and be still at the top of one of the 750 ft. peaks.  I have even imagined living nearby just a few miles South of the dunes, or make a yearly trek in a camper van and just hang out.  I have never been to a place that has tempered me like the way a camp fire tempers me.  I feel a large solid heart filling my entire chest and abdomen – it is obvious the spirit of the Great Sand Dunes has filled me to no end.  We shall return.  Soon.

Who would walk with their back against the sunset?

Click Here …..to view more photos of the Great Sand Dunes…and better yet, the next time you are in Colorado, check out the power and spirit of this magnificent place!

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