You might be forgiven if you thought at first that you are looking upon a scene from the middle of a snowy winter. But it is actually the spectacular white sands of the national monument in southern New Mexico in the American Desert Southwest.
It's especially dreamy at the end of day as the sun is going down.
On most days the park is emptying out at this hour. But for one gorgeous night a month in the summer the national monument remains open, free of charge, for the thousands of nature lovers streaming in to experience the beautiful dunes lit by a dazzling full moon.
I have visited the park many times, in different seasons and hours of the day. But this was the first to this special moonlight event. People from near and far pour in for the hour before dark to watch the sun decline in the western sky and the coming up of a brilliant moon on the opposite horizon. It's tempting to hold back and perform one's own solitary homage at the changing of the light, but there is the live music, congeniality, and the sledding down the steep hills farther in that lures you deeper into the park.
There is nothing else quite like it. The caravans stream in as the sky begins to darken. Later still, comes a surprising quiet and orderly departure of communal strings of moving lights winding for miles out of the vast coolness as the last of the the revelers leave the dunes, the stars, and something of themselves behind in the luminous desert sands. . . .
Have you visited White Sands?
Maybe you will sometime, and leave enchanted.
Happy Summer Days!