By Rachel Zollinger
White Sands National Monument, NM
October 26, 2016
This place occupies an odd intersection of worlds: geologic wonder, niche ecosystem, missile range, national monument. All of these identifiers are conspicuously present in the landscape. The stark white gypsum sand, run through with the tracks of the few animals that make their homes here, the roar of aircraft flying above, the plowed and flattened parking areas dotted with funny picnic table shelters. The stillness that marks a desert is broken by the laughter and cheers of the tourists who pilgrimage here to slide down the soft sand.