"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


When I was a kid, my parents went down to the Rio Grande and filled two large galvanized tubs with river sand.

We brought it home, and dumped it in the corner of our house at Sandia Base, and Dad put up a couple of one by 10's as a border.

And there we would play, my friends and I, or me by myself or with my brother...
building roads, or walls, or more, with our toy trucks and other toys...Oh what fun it was to make roads, castles, walls, mountains, and push your tiny trucks around.

Some things have changed...today, sandboxes come as plastic containers in the shape of turtles or other cute things. And the sand comes in sterile containers from the superstores. They have retractable tops to keep out the rain and the bugs.

I still remember when a tarantula crawled out from under a rock...I'm still traumatized, but soon went back, to grade the roads, to build castles, to spend the summer in wet sand, with imagination and fun with friends or my brother, outside...rather than in front of a computer screen with digital fakeness and air conditioning.

I see all of that when I view my grandson Max Bell playing in dirt and mud in a plastic swimming pool... Life as a kid is supposed to be free and fresh....like a sandbox.

No rules, just fun.

Do you remember the sandbox?

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