Building Sand Castles: Then and Now

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Growing up near a beach, I led a child-dylic life of sun/sand/surf

The ocean was my backyard pool; the sand my playground

Near the water’s edge, the consistency of that granular play-doh

Encouraged childhood architectural whimsy.


We built our castles, carrying water to the construction site in Baby Bear-sized buckets

Not too small to hold too little, not too big to burden our slender frames

The structure, once assembled, cried out for ornamentation.


And so the Dribble Castle began to take shape.

Small fingers drip-drip-dripping the moist sand into fabulous pillars, turrets, bridges,

Water scooped into moats suggesting a royal tableau.

We lay in the sand beside these marvels, reveling in the glory of our creations.


Then, as the afternoon wore on and the tide shifted,

We watched the waves break closer and closer, wishing the waters away

But knowing well the fate of our hours of work.

A hard lesson to learn young: the inevitability of impermanence.


Now, my aging self relearns that lesson every day.

Sometimes it saddens me, sometimes it strengthens me.

Trying to keep my footage, standing firm through ebb and flow,

My mental dribble castle reminds me to reach for the richness, seek out the beauty, hold tight the wonder

The impermanence is part of living, but the pillars, turrets, and bridges may always be rebuilt.


[Note: I wrote this poem weeks before the pandemic changed everything, so I kept putting it aside to discuss the more pressing issues. But as I reread it, I feel its relevance to me right now–at this time.]

38 thoughts on “Building Sand Castles: Then and Now

      1. Hi Annie! We are good here, hoping your family is as well. Missing you and hope we all get through this soon. Thank you, as always for the great posts! Xoxo

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  1. Beautiful piece of writing, Annie. Much to be anticipated in the eventual flooding of the castle most, if I remember correctly. A few glorious minutes of sand bridges and towers overlooking sparkling water before the inevitable crumbling!

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    1. Leave it to you, Matthew, to enhance my poem with your lyrical imagery!
      FYI: This morning, I was able to access your author’s interview, which was filled with provocative thoughts. I liked it on the interviewer’s site, but when I went to yours, I got the reading “Page not found.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is extraordinary! Wrapped around my awe at his creativity and huge talent was a sense of gratitude that his works won’t be washed away by the waves. But as I’m a worrier, I started thinking about earthquakes and fracking. Never mind—it’s wonderful to see his genius. I’d love to visit…but I wouldn’t want to live there. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to enjoy.


  2. Such a lovely bit of writing. Its funny how the water and the sand will be there forever, but what we do with them disappears so quickly, much like our time on earth.

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  3. What beautiful,imagery this brings – we all ca relate to your pillars, the things we rebuild after loss. The impermanence of life is learnt as we grow up and from the beginning the abstraction of death still resides in those washed away sand castles waiting to take form from the endless sand and the vast sea.


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