I hated the Natural Bridges State Park when I was a little girl. This was where my father always wanted to go when we headed out for a day at the beach and every time I was disappointed to not have a stronger voice in the matter. Going to Natural Bridges meant a tranquil day, with plenty of space away from people. It meant a picnic. At this time of year it meant walking through fields of wild flowers. The natural bridges themselves are rocks just pretty much right there on the beach, but apparently not quite close enough to let one’s little daughter try to get on top of them. And so I would sit there, digging listlessly in the sand, wishing my dad would be cooler, wishing I was at the beach, just a little way down the road, that had loud roller coasters and hordes of people. I wished I was eating a caramel apple and drinking an icy Coke instead of having to suffer down the stupid avocado and cheese sandwich he made on his stupid, coarse, homemade bread.
Yes, I am writing this now knowing that I was, actually, a lucky child. I understand what drew my father to the Natural Bridges. I get that he was trying to escape the crowds and noise and trashy food I was so enthralled by. The value of nature was, I think, more or less successfully installed in me. I even think that this is an excellent place to take a little girl on a sunny summer day. And you all are just visitors to the area, so your little girls won’t necessarily know that they’re having a day in nature in lieu of a day of spinning and sugar and trinket shops. I wouldn’t mention it. I know now that Natural Bridges remains a great place because all the many, many people head for the Boardwalk, but parents need to remember that it takes more than 10 years of living in the world of people to want to find ways to get away from them!